Doctoral Dissertation – Staging Facts on the Ground

The research investigates an architecture of seemingly minor or banal objects with nevertheless enormous territorial implications: markers, outposts, stations, and centers of sovereignty. While scholarly discourse predominantly focuses on the conceptual means envisioned to frame territorial sovereignty, the actual material means implemented and executed as often primitive but specific devices on the ground have rarely been subject to theorizing in a historical genealogy: ancient sanctity markers, medieval mercantility outposts, modern signal stations, and contemporary distribution centers.

In its hypothesis, the research claims the possibility of defining sovereignty as a material condition becoming apparent through human-made spatial facts on the ground at various scales and technologies. Based on this working hypothesis, the research postulates a co-presence and dialectic between material form and wider immaterial forces. The research claims the possibility of identifying a paradigm shift in the facticity and rationale of this material condition; from a more belief-based figurative semiotics to a more fact-based literal logistics of territorial markers.

In its larger aim, the research seeks to interrogate the ability of architectural design practice to construct sovereignty in contested conditions where stable and extensive means of demarcation are challenged, as a materially rather than merely intangibly staged process. A case study review and object survey shall identify historical design techniques in their specific temporal, regional, and cultural context to establish typological continuity and similarity rather than difference. Drawing and design studies shall validate the research hypothesis and test its applicability by forecasting applicable design techniques for new understandings in architectural design practice. As such, the project formulates a series of applicable design techniques as individual design interventions, which shall collectively form a kit-of-tools.