Today we discussed the article “Architecture of Autocracy.”  In the discussion group were three Americans, a Korean, and about nine Chinese students.  Much of the discussion centered around whether is was ethical for Western architects to accept commissions in places of totalitarian or communist governments.  One American advocated that architects, especially those in the category of “starchitects” could elevate this into a discussion within the design profession by rejecting a project or denying further work on project that is halfway complete.  Others countered, saying that these types of places provide an opportunity to educate a government about proper means of public input and democratic process.  Why should the people of a city be denied modern architecture simply because the government is authoritarian? Some of the Chinese students felt that Western architecture provided a higher standard and an influential, positive presence on the city.  Other Chinese students believed that too many people’s input would slow down the process; how was it even possible to have people come to a single consensus?  One thought a survey structure would provide for input while not allowing “everyone single person” to be listened to.   More thoughts coming later…

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