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Publication Detail
Degrees of opposition and cooperation. How seating plans and parliament layouts reflect and give rise to political cultures
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  • Authors:
    Sailer K
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  • Name of conference:
    Parliament Buildings International Conference
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Building layouts have a profound impact on the way humans interact and relate to one another. In his seminal book ‘Space is the Machine’ Hillier argued that space is more than a neutral framework for social and cultural forms. Investigating spatial form in relation to cultural and social phenomena has resulted in a rich programme of research with a focus on a multitude of different building types, such as museums, hospitals, offices and schools. Yet, parliaments have been mostly overlooked to date by space syntax research with some notable exceptions. This paper aims to bring two space syntax theories to bear in the context of parliament buildings: the theory of interfaces and the theory of correspondence and non-correspondence. Interfaces will be taken up in this paper by investigating how buildings create interfaces between different political parties via the structuring of parliamentary spatial layouts alongside seating plans. In particular, partial isovists will be constructed from the seats of parliamentarians in order to analyse the degrees of opposition and cooperation between political parties afforded by building configuration. The plans of the UK parliament versus the German parliament will be used for the analysis. This allows the mapping of two contrasting examples. The theory of correspondence and non-correspondence will be investigated using the seating plan and layout of the European Parliament based on visibility and proximity as spatial relations, and political grouping as well as represented nation as categorical relation. The contribution of the paper lies in the analysis of layouts and seating plans and how they give rise to political cultures with a differential degree of opposition and cooperation built into them.
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