Micro-blogging: Public Assembly Architecture

Oct 21 2011

I’ve been having trouble writing posts because I get too into them, and they turn into massive projects that get started… but never finished. I just like writing too much, I think. So, instead of doing *that*, I’m going to try mixing it up with some micro-blog posts.

The role of architecture and revolution is interesting. I’m always intrigued by architects who respond to socio-political events, or try to craft styles to represent specific institutions (eg, these). Its sort of an on-going informal research topic of mine.

While standing in the middle of the PSEG Plaza “Amphitheater”, I noticed the really awesome sound attenuation qualities of the space. We were speaking in normal voices, but the curvature of the massive space was reflecting the sound back at us, loud enough to hear. Which got me thinking about the #Occupy Wall Street protests (I love the hash tag, because in my mind it represents the digital origin/ nature of the protest).

At the protests, they are forbidden from using “amplified sound”, which the police have interpreted to include a ban on mega-phones. So instead, the protesters use a “Peoples Mic” to give speeches; wherein one person yells a line, and those that hear it repeat it, and those that hear that repeat it, and so on, so that speeches radiate like waves through a crowd (like an analogue twitter).

The space is sort of unhelpful, at best. Imagine if the park had a better shape for public assembly? Bam, there you have it, Architecture which supports protest, urban space as a type of active advocate for political discourse.

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