chapter  8
24 Pages

On architecture and capitalism

The tale of three frames
WithGevork Hartoonian

Architecture's rapport with various institutions and industries runs through a complex web of networks, which in the contemporary discourse of Marxism is discussed in terms of architectural ideology. In this chapter, the author elaborates on Gottfried Semper's architectural theory and examines its implications for contemporary discourses on frame and skin. The intention is to show how the modifications taking place in the discussed three frame structures offer concrete material for understanding how capitalism tightens its grip on architecture. The agency of this operation, the author argues not merely technical; it also benefits from the ways that capitalism produces subjectivities that see architecture as naturally part of the aesthetic of spectacle experienced in every cultural domain. The author claims that, in modernity the frame structures various components of building and regulates architecture's complex rapport with capitalism. Central to Mies' concept of frame is the tectonic rapport between the roof, the column and the enclosure.