Architectural Education
Soft power within architecture thesis
Hi, I aim to create a dissertation on soft power within architecture...

Basically how architecture can create subliminal messages and advertisements to promote capitalism. Please could you read my methodology as I think it needs improving and dont know how to analyse the results.

The economic system we live in modern day society is described as capitalism. Capitalism describes a society where a small percent of the population own and distribute the commodities “needed”, whereas the rest of the population sell their service of labour so they can afford these “necessary” commodities (the working class).
Capitalist architecture is designed beyond its spatial organisation, sometimes totally disregarding spatial organisation to “sell” a commodity or an idea. Materials, lighting, visual contacts, acoustics are all optimised to achieve the perfect space that aids the flow of itself. Paint colours are used to create the right moods and optimum psychological condition of users.
Advertising is used to persuade and manipulate the working class viewers to think that the commodity or service is necessary or will better the user’s life. Even architecture is used to advertise these commodities with subliminal messages which I will explore in this project.

My objectives for the project are as follows:
· Explain through my research about Capitalism and how it is relevant in modern western society linking and critically analysing capitalist theories.
· Explain what soft power is and establish how subliminal messages are used within architecture & design within the retail & leisure industry to increase the Capitalist movement Critically analyse the use of buildings internally and on the high street, how users use the space and whether the use of advertising and “capitalist architecture” draws in more users.
I feel these objectives interlink within each other to create a project which will benefit me as a designer and my future endeavours as a venue architect.
I intend to use secondary research some of which I have already compiled to complete the background of my project and give me my initial knowledge and layout. To help explain how Capitalism is heavily involved in modern western society I want to link mainly Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle to today’s society. This book was written in the 1960’s but I feel Debord has predicted correctly how the future (our present) would be.
For my second objective I again intend to use secondary research for the background of the topic. I also intend to arrange an interview with Dr Graham Cairns, author of Deciphering Advertising, Art and Architecture: New Persuasion Techniques for Sophisticated Consumers, with of the help of Mark Hanna. I need to create a series of questions on advertising within architecture. I then, once understanding how and where these messages and methods are used will analyse customers on the high street, by observation. Analysing where the majority visit and whether these are main stores with major advertising methods and whether the building is constructed/designed with capitalist intentions. For buildings I cannot visit i.e. Casinos in Las Vegas, retail stores in America and other countries. I will create an approximate 3d computer model of the interior and let users control a walk though of the building and analyse how they use the buildings and ask why they chosen the path/ method of use.

The participants will range in age and an even number of male and female participants will be used to create a fair but effective experiment.

As I stated earlier to analyse the relevancy of Capitalism and its place in western society I will analyse various Marxist theorists including Marx, Debord, Trefuri and Raoul Vaneigem. From analysing these theorists writings mainly Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. I aim to translate Debord’s theories and link them to commodities and ideas we all know in our society.
To analyse the findings to my 3d walkthrough experiment. Using my newfound knowledge of advertising and soft power gained from my research and my interview of Dr Graham Cairns, I will first critically analyse each building or interior linking my findings to each structure. I will then see if there is any correlation to how the user completed the walkthrough of the building, whether these subliminal messages directed the participant’s path

Any help would be appreciated as you can tell it is not yet finished....
Richard Berrington
Soft power within architecture thesis
Richard, Subliminal communication is an implicit part of anything and everything made or done by humans, and the naff modern cliche for this is "branding" or "rebranding", as though the renaming of a product, a company, or a country somehow removes not only need for the original sense of morality and responsibility, but also the need for any morality.

In fact, problems for Humanity only start when someone tries to separate out and analyse the techniques of subliminal communication for the amoral purpose of amoral manipulation.

And a classic case of the above is the ancient book "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, because in his book he gives a complete map to "How to be successful in warfare and through warfare." In othere words, his book can be read and applied by anyone and without any regard to the conscience (sense of morality) or to the lack of conscience (sense of amorality) of the reader.
Frank John Snelling


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