The Architecture of the United Nations:
Transforming Wars of Ideas through Networks of Peace

This presentation provides a foundation for improving the necessary
between complex current events and the critical pragmatic knowledge
necessary in cultivating architectural awareness.

With participation of diverse audiences
a general premise will be adapted, altered, and refined-
 that architecture is a discipline uniquely capable
of engaging unresolved issues of our day.

A comprehensive overview questioning the profession,
its purpose, and potential for facilitating change begins betwixt and between
the realms of archaeology and architecture. At this intersection, as
the Neue Staatsgalerie museum by James Stirling demonstrates,
the present moment can be revealed and recontextualized.

In juxtaposing universalist aspirations of modern existence
with those of multiple traditions a world community is realized,
while shared cultural conditions remain enigmatic to formulaic representation.

With deliberation, within reason, an interdisciplinary grand tour will search
integrated architectural understanding in the scale of human civilization:

a place of networked relationships where people, buildings, and cities
actively transform patterns of development.

Sketches will share this emergent architectural order,
infrastructural in composition. Through a conceptual convergence
architecture is encountered anew. Its story remains a continuum,
reconstructions upon deconstructions.

An architecture awaiting architects, the United Nations represents
a new economic, social, and political culture in built form.

This common foundation of public endeavor allows a future designed
by and for human beings, not abstract bureaucratic machinery.
9/11, climate change, and poverty are symbolic of
our shared destiny and responsibility.

Left ignored, wars rage-

...until civic duty obligates architectural imaginations
to engage challenges, building
towards peace,


                                        ~ STATEMENT OF PURPOSE ~

        The 21st century exists in a decentralized network of cities, buildings, and
people in multiple states of construction, demolition, and reconstruction. The
Architecture of the United Nations (A-UN) represents this new world scale and
its emerging international order in built form. Within a shared cultural
context the vital role of architects to shape a sustainable peace will be
                                The purpose of this hands-on presentation and open-source exchange of ideas
and information is to foster interdisciplinary conversations and critical
debates of architecture as a conceptual tool for understanding and engaging
current events.
This is a chance to spark new relations between the networks of people

The A-UN research will be creatively and interactively presented based upon the
goals, levels of focus, and interdisciplinary participation of a given
audience. The research itself, already conducted, can be delivered in an
adaptable format ranging from a short lecture to several days of conversation.

Audiovisual recordings, computer slides, whiteboards, real-time sketches, and
online resources will be used in demonstrations, as will EMF meters, electronic
sensors, and other artifacts. Nearby buildings and outdoor environments will
also contribute readily tangible examples that can facilitate discussions.

                                        -= PROJECT CONTEXT =-

        The ideas outlined in this proposal originated as an unintended consequence of
independent studies conducted in the early 1990s. What was an interdisciplinary
search for architectural meaning became increasingly, uncannily
infrastructural. The A-UN concept pulled together a confluence of different
events, most notably:

* sculptures utilizing the common iconography of utility poles and

* analysis of the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) and its
telecommunications as locally representative of the United Nations in built

* consideration of the text On the Archaeology of the Development Idea by
Wolfgang Sachs in terms of electrification and modernization in world
development patterns.

Subsequent investigations built within this inclusive context and new scale:

Themes          international aesthetics, 18th-21st century archaeology (esp.
                        Sir John Soane), infrastructural development, architectural philosophy.

Theses          The Architecture of Electricity, Seeing Cyberspace (2G),
                        Electromagnetic Architecture, Mapping the E-Assemblage.

Projects                Architexturez/Glossalalia, The Aesthetics of Deconstruction, Public
                        Energy Network,, The Electromagnetic Assemblage.

Works           maps, debates, drawings, essays, jewelry, sculpture, installation.

                        The A-UN project has remained, until recently, outside public
consideration. This situation changed on 9/11 with the actions of an
architectural student (Atta) and contractor (bin Laden). The institution of
architecture has yet to respond with its strategic imagination to contribute to
21st century peace.

                                -= GENERAL PLAN =-

        0.              The Architecture of the United Nations:
                        Transforming Wars of Ideas through Networks of Peace

        1.              Stirling: Shared Futures built of Many Pasts
                        - Modernity, Archaeology, Architecture - [a]

        2.              Aesthetics: Representations of the United Nations
                        - Artifacts, Assemblages, Excavations - [b]

        3.              Infrastructures: Evidence of Common Foundations
                        - Tools, Buildings, Systems - [c]

        4.              Cultures: Transformation within Invisible Networks
                        - Economic, Social, Political - [d]

        5.              Realities: Reason beyond Dogmatic Ideologies
                        - Language, Logic, Identity - [e]

        6.              Education: Creative Disciplines and Empirical Knowledge
                        - Research, Design, Development - [f]

        7.              Architecture: Civic Duty and Ethical Responsibility
                        - Humans, Environments, Technologies - [g]

        8.              Relationships: Strategic Imagination and New Diplomacies
                        - Values, Standards, Goals - [h]

        9.              Civilization: Engaging improbable States of Affairs
                        - Scale, Organization, Exchange - [i]

        10.             Challenges: Experiments questioning Modern Traditions
                        - Terrorism, Security, Development - [j]

                        -= RESEARCH NOTES =-

        SECTION 0.      The Architecture of the United Nations:
                                Transforming Wars of Ideas through Networks of Peace

Project origins, aims, and a synopsis through "The Structure of Terror" pyramid
diagram from The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, U.S. Department of
State. [see Figure 1]  (ref. Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine)

                                figure 1: The Structure of Terror

        SECTION 1.      Stirling: Shared Futures built of Many Pasts

Recognition of the work of James Stirling, inspirational and key to questioning
place, suspended between its archaic and cosmopolitan dimensions and qualities.

        Sketch a:       Modernity, Archaeology, Architecture

                        The Neue Staatsgallerie museum enables perception of modern development in a
shared archaeological and architectural perspective. Evident connections
between the pre-modern, modern, and post-modern help decipher origins of new
traditions.  (cf. Herbert Muschamp on archaeology, modernism, and the
preservation movement) {{ see also and }}

        SECTION 2.      Aesthetics: Representations of the United Nations

Exploration of typological representations at the scale of human civilization,
investigating everyday landscapes, buildings, and machines. (cf. Paul

        Sketch b:       Artifacts, Assemblages, Excavations

                        Distributed collections of universal artifacts excavated in developing
contexts demonstrate a new world scale. (ref. The Aesthetics of Deconstruction)
Industrial archaeology reveals international infrastructures in local contexts;
such as shipping containers as symbolic artifacts representing global trade by
relating labor, markets, ports, ships, trucks, stores, merchandise, and people.

        SECTION 3.      Infrastructures: Evidence of Common Foundations

Overview of infrastructures (e.g. communications, energy, transportation) in
developing new world relations founded upon earlier architectural traditions.
[see Figure 2]

                        figure 2: Sketch of Infrastructural Order

        Sketch c:       Tools, Buildings, Systems

                        Methods to conceptually map diverse components of infrastructural order
reveal interconnections in local and global environments and facilitate complex
understandings. (ref. Mapping the E-Assemblage) Maps of 'cyberspace' offer an
example for seeing 'how things work' today. [see Figure 3] (ref. Yona Friedman,
Towards a Scientific Architecture) (cf. David McCauley, Thomas P. Hughes)

                        figure 3: Mapping the Electrical Infrastructure

        SECTION 4.      Cultures: Transformation within Invisible Networks

Recognition of a material culture changing natural, artificial, and virtual
environments through an automation of development. (ref. The Architecture of

        Sketch d:       Economic, Social, Political

                        Visualizing abstract processes defines cultural conditions and a world
context for common infrastructures. (ref. Seeing Cyberspace) With increased
awareness dynamic relations can be 'seen', e.g. between nuclear energy, nuclear
weapons, and nuclear war. [see Figure 4] (cf. Lewis Mumford)

                        figure 4: Geopolitics of Electromagnetic Internetworks

        SECTION 5.      Realities: Reason beyond Dogmatic Ideologies

Collaborative architecture and its entrapment in cultural wars of competing
ideas, proprietary aesthetics, new media techniques, and rhetorical language.

        Sketch e:       Language, Logic, Identity

                        Admission of paradox in logical consideration allows an integration of views
now differentiated in public and private languages. Venn diagram techniques are
a tool for communicating beyond 'theorism', enabling conceptual reasoning for
addressing fundamental issues blockading collaboration through divided
mindsets. (cf. C.P. Snow, Marshall McLuhan, Deleuze & Guattari, Plato)

        SECTION 6.      Education: Creative Disciplines and Empirical Knowledge

Architectural education is potentially exemplar for empirical interdisciplinary
knowledge grounded in strategic practice, versus training of new
metaphysicians. (ref. Réne Magritte,
The Empire of Light, The Treachery of Images)

        Sketch f:       Research, Design, Development

                        Limitations of studio-based curriculums are reached in aesthetic evaluations
of architectural-engineering by specialists. (non seq. Le Corbusier & Walter
Gropius) The threshold is the experimental laboratory, customized to open up
questioning.  (ref. Nicholas Negroponte, Wired magazine and MIT Media Lab)

        SECTION 7.      Architecture: Civic Duty and Ethical Responsibility

A public ownership of architecture is lost to a private mastery of 'the
client,' and creates a potential tool for oppression and exploitation without
oversight. (cf. "The price of greatness is responsibility" - Sir Winston

        Sketch g:       Humans, Environments, Technologies

                        Reinvigorating the public domains of architecture requires peer review of
explorations and methods for understanding. (cf. Venturi, Scott-Brown, Izenour)
Architecture is for people, primarily, not machines alone. Related issues can
no longer be ignored, including: energy efficiency, climate change, pollution,
mass transit, urban sprawl, building safety, and cultural devolution. (ref.
Morrish and Brown, Infrastructure for the New Social Covenant)

        SECTION 8.      Relationships: Strategic Imagination and New Diplomacies

The substantial implication of renewed institutional and individual legitimacy
in meeting strategic challenges with cultural imagination is peaceful change.
(ref. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Relational Architecture)

        Sketch h:       Values, Standards, Goals

                        Architectural reason can negotiate multiple vantages by recontextualizing
questions in terms of shared needs, purpose, and outcomes. A benefit of
conceding imperfection is to prioritize improvements and opportunities for
actively responding to core issues and root causes now in extreme imbalance.
(ref. Natsios Young Architects, &

        SECTION 9.      Civilization: Engaging improbable States of Affairs

Perceptions of universality in natural, artificial, and virtual environments,
beyond paradox, reveal a new world order emerging from chaotic 20th century
cities. (ref. The United States, The United Nations, and The International

        Sketch i:       Scale, Organization, Exchange

                        With humans as standard of measurement the world is simultaneously one and
many, both a group and an individual, allowing coherent evaluation of
globalism, urbanism, and development patterns from multiple perspectives and
values. As a result differences can be bridged, diverse modes facilitated, and
longstanding dichotomies overcome such as managing overlapping public and
private agendas. [see Figure 5] (ex. Social Capital) (ref. Public Energy

                figure 5: Plan for Democratic Energy Policy, circa 2100 C.E.

SECTION 10.     Challenges: Experiments questioning Modern Traditions

Architecture is a critical factor in shaping current events through large-scale
transformations of culture. To do so requires increased cultural investment and
civic support of the core discipline from citizens, businesses, and
governments. (ex. Reconstruction in New York City, Afghanistan, and Iraq)

        Sketch j:       Terrorism, Security, Development

                        The ability to adapt to change is key to the present and future relevance of
architecture. The tragic consequence of censorship of critical questioning in
ideological 'wars of ideas' is ignorance which serves a bureaucracy of
machines. To challenge and transform existing patterns requires more accurate
states of architectural representation to provide foundations for building
towards peace. (ex. sensor networks) (cf. Makrolab, ETOY, Architectural
Painters) (ref. Segal and Weizman, A Civilian Occupation)

                                -= VERDICT =-

These interdisciplinary conversations are paramount to transcend existing
vantages of world order, allowing strategic questions, options, and
imaginations - now otherwise inaccessible.

 brian thomas carroll: research-design-development
 architecture, education, electromagnetism

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