chapter  4
12 Pages

Shattered Glass: Structures of Power

The previous chapters showed that confl icts, value systems and culture defi nitions are inseparable from architectural aesthetics. Place identity stems from the cultural dialogue between the place users and their surrounding built environment. Multi-cultural living becomes the norm in many world cities, but the rise of ethno-nationalism poses a threat to cohabiting. The understanding of the gestural nature of our cultural built environment is necessary to avoid potential confl icts. The UNESCO declaration on cultural diversity (2002) indicated that one of the main causes of confl icts is the difference between the systems of values treasured by different groups or ethno-cultures. Friction may be fi lled with concrete ideological content and fi nd its way into the minds of people, making them inclined to take this friction as a confrontation of cultural values and symbols. Architecture and artefacts of the cultural built gestures, as described by Ludwig Wittgenstein (in Ballantyne 2002: 10), are usually rightly perceived as strong historical evidence for the grievances of certain groups. Preservation or, in many cases, destruction and demolition of such symbols are attempts to delete such physical evidences. There are many global incidents where violence, for example in Bosnia, was deliberately targeting not only the people but also their cultural built heritage(s). Riedlmayer (1994) explained how the military violence in Bosnia aimed to deconstruct a heterogeneous and plural culture in order to destroy all records of coexistence (Figure 4.1). We should examine how building façades, in our case glass façades, transform our built environment and observe the diverse systems of values, and the relation of both to the quality of spatial and aspatial urban experience of different individuals.