The Politics Of Architecture Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Political Science / Politics Type: Essay Paper: #37350006 Related Topics: History, Politics, Designs, Political Environment
Excerpt from Essay :


According to a famous architectural scholar, the architectural industry's slow growth results from wanting political goodwill (Jencks 1973). A good relationship between the two realms is critical to architectural designs' progress, and the stakeholders in both disciplines should understand the underlying relationship (Milne 1981). Goodman first explained the possibility of politics affecting architecture in 1947, but up to now, many have not realized the existing connection between the two domains (Goodman and Goodman 1947.

In this study, the relationship between politics and architecture will explain how architecture is used to play political games and how architecture designs are based on the political environment. The study will also highlight the contribution of politics to modern architectural designs.

The best way to understand how architecture and politics have been relating over the years is to observe different past occurrences concerning the two domains. It is worth noting that the point of interest is not the political differences between individual architects but how the two realms interrelate with each other (Milne 1981). The politics in architecture affects the industry naturally, so it isn't easy to notice its connection. In this paper, the point of emphasis will be technical faces directly related to the day's politics. Historical data on architectural art will be referenced to illustrate its role in shaping architectural designs (Smith 1966).

The influence of politics in shaping the architecture

Art is solely based on what is happening in society. Politics remain an essential element in any community, and architecture is an art that depends on the political environment to remain relevant to society. Politicians use different tactics to pass a message to their followers, and art remains the favorite since it is easy to understand. If a politician manages to patronize the art, it is possible to exalt an agenda or interest without boring the target group (Parker 1950). The political environment changes every other day, and the individuals who hold positions change with time. The different formations will always arise to sell different agendas, and opposition forces will form in response. Politicians prefer representing their agendas in the form of art, so they involve an artist to visualize a formation's beliefs. A good example of an art application is in Renaissance Prince, famous of Machiavelli, yet admired for generosity and tolerance (Parker 1950).

It is possible to identify a transition pattern that is in line with political changes. This can be done by examining the changes that have occurred in the world of architecture over time. The pattern shows that the changes are based on a civilization that happens from generation to generation. Political advancement remains the key guide to the pattern's changes, and therefore it is ironic to see the two realms disconnected. Parkinson was the first to decipher the pattern, and the relationship was highlighted in his sixth law (Parkinson 1957).

The architectural design in ancient Egypt is a clear indication of the political environment being represented in art. The stable and static designs represented the enduring power when Pharaoh was the leader in Egypt. Some of the designs that show stability include pyramids at Giza, colossal halls at Karnak, and giant figures of Ramses II (Milne 1981). The use of monolithic rocks in the design indicates how art can communicate a different message to the community. In this case, art was used to show a political regime that was unshakable.

Figure 1: Pyramid complex, Giza, (c 2500BCE)

The history of the political environment in Egypt is represented in architectural designs. Through the use of different characters, defining different entities' roles during that time is possible. Besides passing the message on the state of politics, the designs are attractive, so they remain iconic in the world. We can now see how the two domains are related and how they depend on each other. The designs speak for politics, and the day's political status is represented through architectural designs. This forms the basis of different theories that explain the relationship that exists between politics and architecture

Ecology and the politics of architecture

According to Urban political ecology (UPE), urbanization is highly influenced by political, social, and economic dynamics, and that is why inequality is visible across different landscapes. Cities are viewed as part of nature since they emerge due to various changes in the contemporary world. The main issue of concern has been explaining how urbanization depends on changes in the surroundings to shift to different states. The transformation is interpreted as a metabolic process (Cornea, N., 2019).

The metabolic process can logically be viewed as a combination of the economic, social, and political systems that bring changes within society. Infrastructure arrangements are key in determining the forces that influenced a particular design, and that's why it is significant to carry out more research on the field. UPE analysis focuses more on observing the historical occurrences during specific times concerning political power. Different cities emerged due to various adjustments in different power levels, which can be political, social, or economic. Following the fact that the adjustments are uneven, the distribution of cities is also uneven. That is why we can conclude that surrounding changes affect the shape that urbanization takes (Cornea, N., 2019). To fully understand the influence of power on Urbanization, UPE researchers examine the pattern followed by different development signals such as water network, electricity, sanitation, urban greenery, and food to determine what was happening during a particular time.

Figure 2: House in Lincolnshire (1994): Theme of the "physical nature of construction" (Adapted from Architecture Foundation 2020)

With what is happening in the modern world, it is obvious that there is a need to keep track of the ecological changes that prompted the emergence of our cities. Recording the changes at the time of occurrence will ensure we have an accurate history that explains why cities are organized in a certain way. Having a clear understanding of the ecology will ease…creative work seen in traditional architectural designs, and therefore the architects should be focused on making improvements. Here a diagram of a civilized architectural design.

Figure 3: the United States, TVA dam, 1936. Architects and engineers combined their creativity to come up with this undecorated but civilized structure.

Figure 4: Democracy builds: A school in England.

Democratic states have allowed the revolution of architectural design by allowing them to apply their creativity in their plans. This is contrary to Nazi and Soviet governments, where the authorities dictate designs. States build on democracy do not even require an architect to follow a specific standard, and therefore there is no limit for creativity. Architectural designs can be used to represent political powers, popular occurrences, or even traditional happening. Allowing public members to speak through art is a great way to ensure that everybody has a chance to raise a voice. Having a platform that creates such an environment is important since the authorities can learn what is in the public's heart, and it can include it in the policies. Designs can also show creative ideas that the government can pick up to advance the economy's state. Some people hire an architect to represent their innovative ideas in architectural designs, and therefore the power of the designs cannot be underrated. (Parker, 1950). The concept of embracing freedom in the world of art can tighten the relationship between the public and authorities, and it is a great way to set a pace for future generations.


Modern architecture has lost its independence due to the political influence that use the money to push personal interest. The traditional designs focused on satisfying the public's desires are slowly fading away, which is unfortunate, considering the power that art has to the day's political space. In the modern world, a political hand is involved when designing and building different structures. Therefore, it isn't easy to apply a unique level of creativity. It is also worth noting that authorities sponsor many structures, and thus the final decision is always with the initiator of a particular program. This is a clear indication that politics depend on art to push the agenda, and art can visually represent different political messages.

Having too much control of architectural work limits creativity, which is not good for the public. Letting the authorities suggest a structure's design always results in biased pieces that do not represent the public interest but an individual one. It would be great if the environment allowed freedom of art with minimal disruption. Having space where individuals can freely express their ideas and thought in designs will open a room for democratic debate, which will guide the state in the next face of development. Different states will use all powers within their reach to stop freedom in design since they avoid a space where they might be criticized. Again, an open space can act as an opportunity for opposing parties to fight back.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Architecture Foundation, 2020, November 22. Caruso St John: Yesterday and Today - In conversation with Nana Biamah-Ofosu and Ellis Woodman. YouTube. Retrieved from

Beyonce, 2018, June 16. APES**T - THE CARTERS. YouTube. Retrieved from

Cornea, N., 2019. Urban Political Ecology. Oxford Bibliographies Online. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199874002-0203.

Goodman, P., and Goodman, P., 1947. Communitas: Means of livelihood and ways of life. New York: Vintage.

Jencks, C., 1973. Modern movements in architecture (Vol. 5). Editions Mardaga.

Kwinter, S., 2010. Notes on the third ecology. Ecological Urbanism, pp.94-105.

Lnag, C., 2018 June 19. Art History Experts Explain the Meaning of the Art in Beyoncé and Jay-Z's 'Apesh-t' Video. Time. Retrieved from

Milne, D., 1981. Architecture, politics, and the public realm. Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 5(1-2), pp.131-146.

Cite this Document:

"The Politics Of Architecture" (2020, December 16) Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

"The Politics Of Architecture" 16 December 2020. Web.11 May. 2021. <>

"The Politics Of Architecture", 16 December 2020, Accessed.11 May. 2021,

Related Documents
Architecture Classicism in Nazi Architecture
Words: 4136 Length: 12 Pages Topic: Architecture Paper #: 77833048

The Palais des Soviets and the Palais des Nations, like the Party Buildings in Nuremberg, symbolized the hoped for triumph of a "new order." Communism, like Nazism, believed that society functioned according to certain, almost mathematical laws. The dialectic of class against class had brought the proletariat to power, and the communist Soviet state represented the natural and inevitable apex of human evolution and history. Le Corbusier shared in

Architecture H-Conclusion History of the
Words: 6306 Length: 20 Pages Topic: Drama - World Paper #: 41072873

This methodology emphasized observable empirical evidence as the way towards discovering and understanding natural laws and true causes. It was the use of this method that was cardinal in the advancement and development of many disciplines, including architecture. Coupled with this was the invention of modern printing by Johannes Gutenberg (1398 -- 1468). His mechanized process of movable type allowed books to be mass produced. This invention laid the

Politics and Figure Art When
Words: 2231 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Art  (general) Paper #: 82527739

The poster was central to Lenin's vision of political transformation, and also the easiest way to convey his message to a largely illiterate population which did not care for paintings and monuments. By the year 1918, the new government began to print and distribute posters. "Alexander Apsit was the first great Bolshevik poster artist who developed many distinct Soviet symbols" (Foss; Lapides: The Bolshevik Era). In 1919, the Literary-Publishing

Architecture Three Grand Examples of Roman Architectural
Words: 629 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 16679276

Architecture Three grand examples of Roman Architectural ingenuity represent the standards set by the Roman culture for the centralization of space. Serving a central purpose all three, the Domus Aurea, built between 64-68 AD, the Pantheon in Rome, built around 118-128 AD and the Mausoleum of Diocletian in Split, built around 300 AD The later architectural designs and constructions of the early Christians and the Byzantine culture can be said to be

Politics and Art Have Gone
Words: 1195 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Art  (general) Paper #: 46679399

He later wrote that their tribute reminded him of the "nation-wide" support he had received in 1913 in his fight against the "reds." (Valkenier, 1978, p. 28). The Russian Revolution also introduced an entirely new art form. It is thought that the period following the Bolshevik Revolution until the middle 1920s was progressive and at the forefront of the European avant-garde. Artists believed in the profound influence they could have

Politics of Administrative Law
Words: 1352 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 81539394

Politics of Administrative Law -- Weinstein, Wilson, and Shamir What is the political philosophy behind America's current state of federal and state administrative regulation? Although in an ideal historical environment, this would be easy to see in the recorded words of the Founding Fathers, the historian of American law is instead faced with a challenge, for the relationship between individual, state, and national government has changed considerably since this nation's founding.