Politics and architecture are inextricably linked.

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For instance, look at the greatest projects built in France in the 90s. They were all initiated by the French president Mitterrand. Formerly criticized for their large expense, today they are highlights of every trip to Paris. In that sense, they are an economic engine for tourism (not to mention the effect that heightened pride and positive reflection the projects build in the French people and the pride of nations when a foreign architect is involved). This is something we hope other countries and governments will learn from, in turn requesting better-quality and more outstanding architecture to support a positive image for their country to project globally.

In this respect we had the opportunity to be part of a political moment in the US. In this case, it was quite different from idea that a building become part of politics as it was more that a process becomes part of the messages. This was the day before the inauguration of Barak Obama. We had been asked to design a project for volunteers where the President Elect would join and support the good cause. It was fascinating to experience how $1500 for color and curtains, twenty young people with paint brushes, and a soon-to-be President with a mission could become a call for service to the nation that still resonates over a year and a half after the event. More than 500 million people saw the live feed and we are still proud that our minor architectural design and coordination work was the enabler for that.

About The Author

Matthias Hollwich is principal of HOLLWICHKUSHNER, LLC, a New York City based architecture and concept design firm. He is also co-founder of ARCHITIZER, a social networking platform connecting architects via their designs. Matthias is driven by the aim to upgrade man-made environments on a human and engaging scale with an ECONIC twist and can be best reached at www.hwkn.com. (mh@hwkn.com)

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