Buildings and Power shifts the focus of architectural debate from the dominant themes of art and technology to an analysis of meaning in terms of social relations. Buildings are primarily social objects - their forms provide answers to questions we ask about ourselves, questions of power, order, classification and function. Everything about a building has social meaning - its form, function and spatial structure are each capable of analysis. Buildings and Power focuses on the emergence of new building types during the critical period between the Enlightenment and the French and Industrial Revolutions. The types are divided between those whioch control relations between people directly - schools, institutions of various kinds, buildings for cleaning and hygiene, clubs, assembly rooms and hotels; those which reproduce knowlege - museums, galleries, institutes; those used for production and exchange - mills, production utopias, markets, shops, and exchanges. Throughout, the book is lavishly illustrated with photographs, drawings, maps and plans. The book's concern is not for history but for the place of architecture in the modern world.
It provokes questions about the ways we design, build and imagine our environment, about the ways architecture can liberate or confine our lives. Buildings and Power is addressed to those involved in the creation of the built environment - architects, planners and geographers; those engaged in the study of art and social history, social science and material culture; above all to anyone interested in buildings and what is written about them.
'The outstanding feature is Markus' precision and exhaustive learning. To chart the historical evolution of even one type of building without error or omission is an achievement. Markus performs flawlessly across every field ... the result of these endeavours, then, is a book of extraordinary and lasting value.' - Architecture Today