When The Politician Meets The Architect

Jonathan Glancey ponders what the landmark buildings of a country tell us about its political life.


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In Britain, for all the talk in recent years of open government, our national politicians hide behind the walls of the Palace of Westminster.

But have things ever been any different? Jonathan considers the architecture of politics, from ancient Athens to contemporary Berlin via Westminster, Brasilia, Cardiff and Washington.

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Political will as much as economic circumstance shapes the look of our capital cities, especially the skylines.

For ambitious politicians, high-rise buildings spell success and a will to triumph.

Yet skyscrapers are essentially old-fashioned, reminiscent of 1890s Chicago and 1920s Manhattan.