Advertising Architecture and Containers: The Hidden World of Logistics and Spectacular Architecture1

in Architecture and Control
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This article uses an adjusted Marxist base-superstructure analysis of the late Zaha Hadid’s bmw plant in Leipzig to connect neoliberal architecture with the structural transformations in logistics that have taken place over the past four decades through the introduction of the container and the implementation of just-in-time production. Hadid’s bmw plant is analysed as a spectacular expression of the dream of logistics somehow surpassing the mode of production by transforming all fixed capital into circulating capital, producing “ultimate profit machines.” The article thus contributes to the development of a critical cultural theory that “returns” to capital and situates cultural objects such as architecture within broader socioeconomic contexts. It does so by mapping the complex relationships between an economy “infused” with culture and an architecture that has become instrumental to the workings of the post-Fordist economy and taken the form of an architectural spectacle.

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