Ekow Eshun

Power and Architecture

Across the post-Soviet world, there is a common thread running through architectural styles. From grand monuments to homogenised concrete blocks, what effect do these architectural structures, designed by one regime and inherited by another, have on the people who live with their legacy?

Across the post-Soviet world, there is a common thread running through architectural styles. From grand monuments to homogenised concrete blocks, repetitive and standardised landmarks to public art, we see the echoes of space designed with the futuristic ideologies of socialism, transitioned into the globalised hegemony of capitalism. What effect do these architectural structures, designed by one regime and inherited by another, have on the people who live with their legacy?

For the ideological champions of utopian society, architecture is a clear and potent manifestation of a society’s power, influence and status. From the gothic might of Stalin’s seven Vysotki to Astana’s gleaming Bayterek Tower, giant structures loom over the citizens of the former Soviet Union, signifying the grand ambitions of their rulers, past and present. Power and Architecture explores the design of the built environment and its use as a device of influence, both physically characterising the skyline, and psychologically in relation to the people who live in its shadow.

Power and Architecture