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Dubai, the City as Corporation$
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Ahmed Kanna

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816656301

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816656301.001.0001

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“Going South” with the Starchitects

“Going South” with the Starchitects

Urbanist Ideology in the Emirati City

(p.77) Chapter 2 “Going South” with the Starchitects
Dubai, the City as Corporation

Ahmed Kanna

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter argues that contemporary architecture, especially, although not exclusively, in its guise as so-called starchitecture sometimes manifests a retrogressive move that widens rather than bridges the gap between its progressive political self-image and its sometime collaboration with political forces. Specifically, it is by “going south” to the global south, that contemporary architecture recreates the myth of the autonomous architect, the aesthetic genius unencumbered by local context and history. In other words, by going south, architects escape politics, and they, in turn, help local elites do so as well. The space and built environment—despite being within the realm of architecture—find themselves intrinsic and subservient to political agendas. Starchitecture in particular reinforces the ideals of authenticity and local culture, in encouraging modernity while simultaneously establishing stereotypes and many other such instances of polarization.

Keywords:   starchitecture, contemporary architecture, global south, politics, modernity, architects

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