Constructing Barricades: Politics of the Event and Weak Architecture Conference Paper uri icon


  • While the post-political paradigm in architectural discourse may lay claim to depoliticizing architecture, a performance paradigm emerging from cultural studies allows us to re-politicize the field through the notion of spatial performativity: a destabilizing of architecture's will to be fixed and durable through a concentration on the complexities of architecture as event. This realignment redresses Henri Lefebvre's critique of architecture's implacable objectality with Gilles Deleuze's focus on the mobilized objectile. Such an emphasis on architecture's temporal mutability also reinforces Sanford Kwinter's demand for 'an all-encompassing theory and politics of the event''. This paper acknowledges the active role architecture plays in reinforcing a contemporary barricade mentality, which curtails our freedom of movement and expression in the very name of 'freedom', while suggesting that in more ephemeral gestures of fortification - seen in a proliferation of data codes, plastic tape, synthetic webbing and portable concrete fences - lies the possibility for critiquing how our public performances are limited and controlled. Positing the barricade as an architectural and social formation allows us to consider its shifting political implications seen in public artworks that are aligned with Rubio Ignaci Sola-Morales' concept of 'weak architecture'.

publication date

  • 2011

published in

  • Architecture and the Political Fourth International Symposium on Architectural Theory


  • Lebanese American University

presented at

  • Architecture and the Political Fourth International Symposium on Architectural Theory, Beirut, Lebanon