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Conflict: The Latest Architecture and News

How Architecture Tells the Story of Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland

06:00 - 11 May, 2017
How Architecture Tells the Story of Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland, Over the past fifty years, Northern Ireland has transitioned from war to peace © Robinson McIllwaine Architects / Hufton+Crow / Flickr user: placeni / Flickr user: dr_john2005 / Wikipedia Commons User: Fribbler
Over the past fifty years, Northern Ireland has transitioned from war to peace © Robinson McIllwaine Architects / Hufton+Crow / Flickr user: placeni / Flickr user: dr_john2005 / Wikipedia Commons User: Fribbler

Architecture is often intertwined with political context. This deep connection is especially evident in Northern Ireland, a place of infamously complex politics. The state came into existence as a consequence of war in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned into an independent Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland, an industrious region still controlled by Britain. Conflict has since ensued in Northern Ireland between a majority pro-British Unionist population, and a minority, though significant, Irish Nationalist community. The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed a brutal struggle, with over three thousand people killed, thousands more injured, and harrowing images spread across the world.

The turbulence of Northern Ireland’s conflict is played out in the architectural development of Belfast, its capital city. With thirty years of war from the 1960s to 1990s, the architecture of Belfast embodied a city under siege. When the prospect of peace dawned in the 1990s, an architecture of hope, confidence, and defiance emerged. In the present day, with Northern Ireland firmly on a peaceful path, Belfast has played host to a series of bold architectural ideas and landmark public buildings by award-winning architects. With the rich, bitter, emotive history of Northern Ireland viewed through multiple, often conflicting prisms, the architectural development of Belfast offers a tangible narrative of a city which burned, smoldered, and rose from the ashes.

Aftermath of the 1975 Mountainview Tavern bombing in Belfast © User: Tdv123 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA-4.0 The Titanic Centre, Belfast © Flickr user placeni. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) The Lyric Theatre by O'Donnell & Tuomey Architects © Dennis Gilbert The Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre by Heneghan & Peng © Hufton+Crow + 20

Artefacts Under Attack: What Has Been Damaged And To What Extent?

04:00 - 17 March, 2015
Artefacts Under Attack: What Has Been Damaged And To What Extent?, Buddhas of Bamiyan (1963, 2008). Image via Wikipedia
Buddhas of Bamiyan (1963, 2008). Image via Wikipedia

In an article for the Financial Times (FT), writer and historian Simon Schama examines world conflict zones and the efforts to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable architectural and cultural sites. If history is a measure, then Schama's study of William “Basher” Dowsing - an Englishman who, in the winter of 1643, "made it his personal mission to obliterate as much as he possibly could of sacred art in the churches and colleges of East Anglia" in the name of religion - is pertinent now more than ever.

The Proliferation of "Cultural Genocide" in Areas of Conflict

00:00 - 1 September, 2014
The Proliferation of "Cultural Genocide" in Areas of Conflict, Umayyad Mosque, Old City of Aleppo, Syria (2013).
Umayyad Mosque, Old City of Aleppo, Syria (2013).

In an article for the London Evening Standard, Robert Bevan examines one of the many often overlooked consequences of conflict: the destruction of monuments, culture, and heritage. With heightened conflict in the Middle East over the past decade an enormous amount of "cultural genocide" has occurred - something which Bevan notes is "inextricably linked to human genocide and ethnic cleansing." Arguing that "saving historic treasures and saving lives are not mutually exclusive activities," case studies from across the world are employed to make the point that with the loss of cultural heritage, most commonly architectural, the long term ramifications will resonate throughout this century.

"Expansion and Conflict": 13th International Docomomo Conference 2014

00:00 - 16 August, 2014
"Expansion and Conflict": 13th International Docomomo Conference 2014, Courtesy of Docomomo International
Courtesy of Docomomo International

How has the advancement of the Modern Movement design ethos, through geo-political expansion from the Western world, challenged the cultural foundation and aesthetic heritage of Asia?