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Radical Centres: The Political Morphology of Monumentality in Warsaw and Johannesburg

Murawski, M; (2017) Radical Centres: The Political Morphology of Monumentality in Warsaw and Johannesburg. Third Text , 33 (1) pp. 26-42. 10.1080/09528822.2016.1275188. Green open access

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Abstract

This article compares and contrasts two monumental architectural ensembles: Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, Johannesburg, opened in 2005 by President Thabo Mbeki; and The Palace of Culture and Science, a Stalinist skyscraper ‘gifted’ to Warsaw by the Soviet Union in 1955. This architectural juxtaposition serves as the point of departure for the article's two, interconnected key themes: an inquiry into the complex continuities and contradictions between the political and economic reconfigurations experienced by South Africa after 1994 and Poland after 1989; and an exploration into what the author defines as the ‘political morphology’ of monumental architecture. The bulk of the article is concerned with a critical investigation into how scholars conceive of the relationship between the morphological (spatial, geometric and aesthetic) characteristics of built form, and their political or economic correlates. Must there be – as the scholarly consensus suggests – an intrinsic connection between democracy and architectural humility, and between authoritarianism and monumentality?

Type: Article
Title: Radical Centres: The Political Morphology of Monumentality in Warsaw and Johannesburg
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09528822.2016.1275188
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2016.1275188
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Michal Murawski, Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, The Palace of Culture and Science, Kliptown, Warsaw, Johannesburg, Cities, Architecture, Centrality, Monumentality, Political Morphology, Political Geometry, Socialism, Apartheid
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057699
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