International Symposium: On Power in Architecture #2

A Phenomenological Perspective

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At the second symposium of the series On Power in Architecture, internationally renowned philosophers and an architectural historian will examine architecture in regard not only to its heterogeneous relationship to power using a selected case study, but this time from a phenomenological perspective.

Slovenian philosopher Dean Komel will sketch a possible phenomenological approach to the problem of “power within architecture” to rethink how architecture can play a critical role in addressing different positions of social power, rather than finding self-satisfaction as their subservient toy. Australian philosopher Andrew Benjamin will talk about architecture of the counter-measure and about possibilities for an architecture beyond nihilism. Australian philosopher Jeff Malpas will focus on architecture in the age of technological capitalism. Slovenian architectural historian Luka Skansi will approach the topics of “power in architecture” and “phenomenology in architecture” through a specific case study – monuments built in Socialist Yugoslavia to commemorate the World War II battles and genocides that occurred during the Nazi-Fascist occupation. And finally, German philosopher Peter Trawny will base his case study on the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to discuss the power of the powerless and elaborate on another understanding of power in architecture.

Speakers: Andrew Benjamin, Dean Komel, Jeff Malpas, Luka Skansi, Peter Trawny

Venues: The symposium will take place at MAO – Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana. The pre-event at the Faculty of Architecture / Plečnik’s lecture room, Zoisova Street 12, Ljubljana.

  • 12 September | Pre-event

    A conversation between Mladen Dolar und Andrew Benjamin
    On Modernity and Postmodernity

    Venue: Faculty of Architecture / Plečnik’s lecture room, Zoisova Street 12, Ljubljana

    Date: 12 September, 6 pm

    In the opening part of the conversation, two philosophers and colleagues – Mladen Dolar and Andrew Benjamin – will trace the implications of abstraction for modernity, present both in art and in architecture. Their conversation will also focus on repetition and deconstruction, as among the key solutions that postmodernity proposed for fighting back the incision of modernity. In the concluding part, they will deliberate how those concepts are influencing our contemporary times, in order to understand the futures that space, art and architecture are facing today.

    The conversation is in English.

  • 13 September | Symposium programme

    Opening remarks by Mateja Kurir: Architecture and Phenomenology

    Dean Komel: A Phenomenological Sketch of the Origin of Architectural Work and the Question of Power

    Andrew Benjamin: The Architecture of the Counter-Measure

    Jeff Malpas: Spatialising Design – Architecture in the Age of Technological Capitalism



    Luka Skansi: The Power of Talent –“Good Old” Architecture in Socialist Yugoslavia

    Peter Trawny: The Power of the Powerless – The Favelas of Rio de Janeiro


The symposia series aims to enable a theoretically relevant discussion on the topic while gathering renowned thinkers to propose concepts upon which to reflect on the intertwined relation between power and architecture.

The symposium will be in English. Entry is free of charge.

Video recordings (2017): On Power in Architecture: A Materialist Perspective

More information on the symposium:

Organised by Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, Ljubljana in collaboration with Mateja Kurir.

Partners: MAO − Museum of Architecture and Design; Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana; ERSTE Foundation; Goethe-Institut Ljubljana; Outsider magazine