Antagonism in/to the Built Environment: The Status of Resistance for the Design Professions

By Emre Ozyetis.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We find ourselves in a world. There is a tendency to regard the world as a spatial entity as well as a temporal one. Within a framework that suggests we find ourselves in a world which is constituted of the structures we are bound to, and resist from time to time; we can postulate that the built environment is a structure which does not only house dissent but also has the potential to be where the dissent, anxiety and anguish come from. The political, economic and social structures one can resist are the very same structures through which we engage with the world. This framework can be expanded to design theory and practice to suggest we are designing and constructing the built environment within those structures as we participate in their production and reconfiguration. Marxist and post-Marxist readings have a tendency to problematize built environment design and practice, as in this spatial configuration capitalism thrived and was possible. Suggesting structures of oppression are constructed within the city that sustain the capitalist mode of production and consumption, is a possible reading of all this literature. The same literature tends to seek methods to take hold of architectural design to be able to grasp the possibility of an alternative to capitalism. What can be emphasized in this literature is the Operaismo-aspired autonomous architecture. Autonomous [paper] architecture from the 60s and 70s acknowledges built environment does not only house capitalism and its tools, but also produces them. This paper questions how it is possible for a design professional to show antagonism to the structures of oppression in the contemporary economic, social and political context, if design professionals are one of the tools capitalism exploits and makes use of.

Keywords: Architectural Design and Practice, Post-fordism, Critical Architecture, Architectural Autonomy, Refusal of Work

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.53-65. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 591.264KB).

Emre Ozyetis

Research Student, Spatial Information Architecture, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Emre Ozyetis received a Bachelor degree in architecture in 2009 and a Bachelor of Art degree in Philosophy in 2010 from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. Since 2011, he is a research student at SIAL, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. He is doing his Masters degree researching paths to resistance to the contemporary capitalist system from within the built environment professions.