The Politics of Architecture Are Not a Matter of Taste

Marianela D’Aprile

Common Edge

November 13, 2017


“This is an implication that architecture is in crisis. On that we can agree. But it’s in crisis not because the buildings made today are not symmetrical, or because their designers are afraid of beauty or of ornament. It’s in crisis because architecture—and here I use this term to mean buildings that have been designed for construction in the physical world—does not fit as a commodity into capitalist economic structures. There is no value, in the Marxist sense of the word, to be extracted from additional ornament, from a balanced and artfully composed plan, from awe-inspiring beauty, except for in the cases of buildings conceived to be monumental. There is no “feeling” that makes a developer money. The reason that highly designed contemporary architecture almost exclusively manifests in iconic structures is that it’s the only way that investing in design and aesthetic quality can turn a profit for someone.”