Post-war cities epitomise both a disjuncture and resonance between the end of the nation-state, on the one hand, and a preoccupation with reinventing the city through building, on the other. Programs of 'reconstruction' and 'remaking a city' are preceded by destruction: a destructive force has altered the face of the city, buildings have been destroyed and damaged, their ordered and ordering materiality is eroded, and the city is no longer an image of an idealized symbol of unity and identity. Belying the mythical power of architecture as a material and symbolic force, is also its fragility. Architecture can be monumentally erected and can have a presence and persistence that inspires awe and wonder, but it can also, just as easily be de-erected, demolished, destroyed. It can be de-constructed in a way that the literal sense of the term signals its symbolic frailty. Perceiving the symbolic as intrinsically tied to the physical articulation and presence of the architectural edifice, both reveals and conceals that the symbolic is also tied to fantasy, memory and fiction. Drawings that precede construction are projections of an idealized image of something that does not yet exist, and photographs that remain after a building is demolished are representations of a past realist that is now fictional.
Field of Research
120199 Architecture not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
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