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Monday, 2 August 2010

Symbols of Fear

An artists impression of the proposed new US Embassy in London

I have been reading a book edited by Michael Sorkin entitled "Indefensible Space. The Architecture of the National Insecurity State". The title draws on Oscar Newman's Defensible Space Theory. Within the book there is a chapter by Trevor Boddy - "Architecture Emblematic. Hardened Sites and Softened Symbols." Always on the look out for symbols of fear and insecurity I found this quote interesting;
"There is one building type - because of prominence, vulnerability and political associations - that has been the subject of hardening for far longer than others and may predict where the architecture of the insecurity state is headed. The building type is, of course, American embassies - that most emblematic of all emblematic architectures."
Nice to see that the architect is trying to blend in with the existing buildings like the Tower of London about one mile downstream and The Keep in Windsor Castle about 22 miles upstream.
Good to see that there is going to be some water in the new building's moat. This has been superfluous to requirements for a few hundred years in the moats around the other two buildings.

What are embassies for anyway? This article discusses this question.

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