German-born architect, writer and designer Theo Deutinger’s most recent book, “Handbook of Tyranny” gives us a shocking view of how architecture and design help implement laws or obstruct individual freedom (depending on your point of view).
Deutinger wants us to question what we see in the landscapes we have come to love. This all started for Deutinger when he found out that big boulders were strategically placed in front of De Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam to provide an obstacle for bank robbers and their getaway cars from getting too close to the bank.
He gives stunning examples of how political power and authoritarian intervention has worked its way into our most illustrious landscapes. He tells his story primarily through technical drawings. He encourages the reader to question every fence and institutional design that was constructed to control human behavior.
Deutinger makes it known that there are non-human entities or acoustic controls that restrict, and otherwise govern and guide daily existence in our macrocosm. Many of these could be termed as cruelty, such as benches designed to discourage homeless people from using them; or gravel walkways that loudly warn if someone is approaching. These are used as a form of control.
Recent studies have shown that there are many high-pitched sounds that only young people can hear. So as a deterrent, many business owners have installed very high-pitched sounds to prevent teens from loitering outside their businesses.
Deutinger shows us that some of these deterrents that are in the architectural designs are engineering innovations. Others are small tweaks that are in the design themselves; they are supposed to provide security and safety for all. Perhaps this is a great example of the old saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting