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Ruined Skylines: Aesthetics, Politics and London's Towering Cityscape

Author/EditorGassner, Gunter (Author)
ISBN: 9780367784669
Pub Date31/03/2021
BindingPaperback
Pages208
Dimensions (mm)234(h) * 156(w)
Ruined Skylines examines the skyline as a space for radical urban politics. Focusing on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in London's tall-building boom, it develops a critique of the construction of more and more speculative towers as well as a critique of the claim that these buildings ruin the historic cityscape.
$56.16
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Availability: 2 In Stock
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This book examines the skyline as a space for radical urban politics. Focusing on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in London's tall-building boom, it develops a critique of the construction of more and more speculative towers as well as a critique of the claim that these buildings ruin the historic cityscape. Gassner argues that the new London skyline needs to be ruined instead and explores ruination as a political appropriation of the commodified and financialised cityscape. Aimed at academics and students in the fields of architecture, urban design, politics, urban geography, and sociology, Ruined Skylines engages with the work of Walter Benjamin and other critical and political theorists. It examines accounts of sometimes rebellious and often conservative groupings, including the City Beautiful movement, the English Townscape movement, and the Royal Fine Art Commission, and discusses tower developments in the City of London - 110 Bishopsgate, the Pinnacle, 22 Bishopsgate, 1 Undershaft, 122 Leadenhall, and 20 Fenchurch - in order to make a case for reanimating urban politics as an art of the possible.

This book examines the skyline as a space for radical urban politics. Focusing on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in London's tall-building boom, it develops a critique of the construction of more and more speculative towers as well as a critique of the claim that these buildings ruin the historic cityscape. Gassner argues that the new London skyline needs to be ruined instead and explores ruination as a political appropriation of the commodified and financialised cityscape. Aimed at academics and students in the fields of architecture, urban design, politics, urban geography, and sociology, Ruined Skylines engages with the work of Walter Benjamin and other critical and political theorists. It examines accounts of sometimes rebellious and often conservative groupings, including the City Beautiful movement, the English Townscape movement, and the Royal Fine Art Commission, and discusses tower developments in the City of London - 110 Bishopsgate, the Pinnacle, 22 Bishopsgate, 1 Undershaft, 122 Leadenhall, and 20 Fenchurch - in order to make a case for reanimating urban politics as an art of the possible.

Gunter Gassner is Lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, Wales, and an architect. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of critical theory and spatial practices. He specialises in questions about relationships between aesthetics and politics, history and power, and urban visions and visualisations.

List of figures Acknowledgments The new London skyline Conservative representations A tall-building boom Conservatism Ruination Outline of the book Visual and political representativeness The notion of the skyline Form, power, finance, function Political skylines Agency Composition Western views Compositional wholeness Townscape Image Wholeness Sequence Skyline profiles and sky gaps Linear sequence Occupying the line Optical space Aesthetic and speculative value Reframing building height Aestheticising and beautifying The skyline as a monad Open totality History Enshrinement as heritage History as a process Inward history Historical progress The orderly city Meaning Linear and painterly Religion as capitalism Allegories and symbols Baroque folding Resistance Political images Ruination Conservatism A tall-building boom Index

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