Architecture against Democracy

In 1816 on the island of Saint Helena, Napoléon Bonaparte articulated his failed vision of a pan-European empire with him at the helm: “I felt myself worthy of this glory.” By 2016, a group of ersatz Napoléons had assumed leadership positions in governments across the globe, from India to the United States. Architecture against Democracy investigates the spatial and architectural dimensions of hyper-nationalism and de-democratization that have unfolded throughout industrial and postindustrial modernity, with an emphasis on developments after 1945. The political move to fascism and its likenesses related to modernization has found particular echoes and reinforcement in architecture. Taking what historian Christopher Bayly has called the “wreck of nations” following 1815 as its starting point, but concentrating on less well-studied episodes in the long history of nationalism, proto-fascism, and fascism following the Second World War, "Architecture against Democracy" offers an architectural history of the present conjuncture.