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12 | 2017
The space of diplomacy

Design and beyond
L’espace diplomatique. Design et au-delà
Kabul : view of the Italian ambassador's residence
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Crédits : Turin (Italy), Studio Andrea Bruno

This thematic section of ABE features contributions on the role and meanings of embassies and other structures designed for diplomacy, in urban fabrics situated east and south of the Mediterranean.

Albeit inherently representative objects, embassies are seldom considered as architectural signifiers, or as parts of the cultural landscape of a city. Starting from Addis Abeba and moving on to Ankara, Kabul and Beijing, the four papers of the section show that while the architecture of diplomacy displaces a fragment of the nation beyond its territorial borders, this movement is never limited to the transfer of technologies and architectural styles. The making of diplomatic landmarks can be assessed as a dialogic process of space production, entailing negotiation and domestication in the foreign context, appropriation and reworking of local symbolic and material resources, interaction with the surrounding social and physical landscape.

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