Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


For Hegel, architectural structures reveal cultural understandings about how we as human beings understand the self and the world around us at any given point in history. What I seek to do in this paper is to identify what sort of cultural understanding is revealed through contemporary architecture such as the skyscraper, the symbol of modern capitalism. To do this, I present Hegel’s analysis on the cultural meanings that are revealed in Classical and Romantic architecture, using the Temple of Athena and the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp as examples. Next, I draw on Heidegger’s (1993) discussion in “The Question Concerning Technology” of the technology as a way of “enframing” – a revealing that orders – to argue that, in the context of modern capitalism, contemporary architecture reveals the world, and ourselves, as part of a “standing reserve.” In the last part before the conclusion, I delve further into how a “technological worldview” persists, using Foucault’s discussion of Panopticism in his book Discipline and Punish. Through my discussions of Heidegger and Foucault, I use the Willis Tower in Chicago as an example to help elucidate the argument that contemporary architecture makes space for a “technological worldview.” By bringing into attention the ways architecture make space for cultural understandings, we better understand the impact architecture has in revealing the self and the world, and thus grants us an opportunity to reveal the world through other ways than the technological.

Included in

Philosophy Commons