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Headline

UK architects criticise Swiss minaret ban

Comment

This 'outcry' from some UK-based architects seems to me to demonstrate a limited understanding of the Swiss mentality. Switzerland is a neutral state at the heart of Europe that, above anything, values continuity. It is, to an extent, wary of globalising forces - but this does not equate to racism, xenophobia or any other sort of 'dark force'. There is a fine line to walk between just becoming a generic space - as the UK has largely become, and being accused of being a fascist because you want to preserve a cultural, national or regional identity and a notion of 'placeness' - which of course risks getting into Heideigger territory (and no doubt, that will then get us on to the Nazis). It's not black and white, its not lended to the sort of binary thinking that increasingly that the press likes to publish these days. Its far more complex. Switzeland sees their architecture as a very important cultural asset that forms part of a tradition and a continuum. You could contrasst with the the stop start, jerking, frequently vulgar, showy type of architecture we get in the UK and France. If we are going to get on the subject of buildings and their impact on society, I think Britain is probably not the one to be piping up too soon. We are hardly the gold standard for social cohesion.

Posted date

3 December, 2009

Posted time

6:16 pm

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