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Buildings, time, and sociopolitical transformations 
Marco Paladines (Leuphana University)
José Gómez (Universidad de Cuenca)
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Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores buildings as agents and processes in which both situated practices and social macro-dynamics can be analyzed, focusing on 1) the configuration of socio-spatial constellations; 2) political modulations of space-time; and 3) non-linear entanglements of meaning and matter.

Long Abstract:

More than objects filling empty space, buildings are both material and symbolic entities that modulate and transform space and time (Besedovsky et al., 2019). Often, the perception of time's flux and socio-temporal macro dynamics, through notions such as progress or development, is tied to how we perceive constructions' evolution and decay (Joniak-lüthi, 2017). Many sociopolitical processes find in buildings (both as infrastructure and architecture) a means for expressing a multiplicity of cultural, demographic, economic, and religious dynamics (Picon, 2005).

This capability does not imply that buildings are a neutral or passive medium (mere projection surfaces re-presenting what occurs in other social realms). Rather, building as a process and buildings as outputs mediate transformations and intervene as social agents, shaping those social, political, economic, and demographic processes (Ramakrishnan, 2021). These characteristics are highly relevant in contexts of transformation where buildings are promoted, constructed, repaired, celebrated, or rather dismantled, demolished, criticized, or even left to decay. As such, buildings are a physical nexus of contemporary and historical matters of concern, such as colonization, emancipation, modernization, industrial development, austerity, and the current push towards energetic transition (Velho and Ureta, 2019).

The panel is divided into three sessions: the first one is an open panel to present academic papers; the second one calls for architectural expositions (photography, illustrations, prototyping, models) or critical walking tours in Amsterdam; the last session will connect collective reflections on stories of buildings in contexts of historical or political transformation, with practical proposals for the creation of a multimedia repository of building’s biographies. This repository should promote the engagement with both memories and ways of imagining futures where buildings are agents that support collective efforts towards relevant transformations, embedded in current discussions in STS and multiregional societal challenges.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1
Session 2