Alan Davies, who writes Crikey's invaluable The Urbanist blog, has responded to my musings on Hillary Clinton's call for 'a new architecture for the world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.' I thought this analogy raised a number of questions about the new diplomatic architecture now operating around the world (including the G20), which I laid out in my post. Alan Davies adds one more question:
Would these diplomatic structures make intuitive sense to other cultures, or are they specific to the cognitive elite of advanced western nations?
It's interesting to think about this from the perspective of China as a rising world power.
If architecture is any guide, then perhaps these diplomatic structures will make intuitive sense to China in the way they do to the West. I'm not aware that there are any Gehry buildings in China (except Hong Kong, which doesn't quite count), but China has been good to various other 'starchitects', and Chinese authorities have embraced the idea of building outrageous foreign-designed landmarks in order to put various cities on the international map (above, the Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid).
Indeed, many observers have argued that a fondness for Western shapes is China's attempt to mark its entry into the community of nations as a great power. As its cultural power grows, the next stage may well be that China becomes a maker of architectural tastes rather than a taker of them. The same could be said of its influence on diplomatic architecture.
Alan also asks whether there is 'a really good architectural metaphor for the sort of multi-channel diplomatic arrangements Ms Clinton favours'. Readers may care to chime in on that one: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Flickr user peejing.