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The Conversion of the Palace of the Republic, 2004-2005, A Technology of Changing Atmospheres

  • Author(s): Steinmetz, Hanna
  • et al.
Abstract

Gentrification theory deals with the issue of converted buildings. However, it solely offers a diminished reading of the process of so-called aestheticization and of other sensual refurbishments that take place when undesired, decaying buildings are made desirable. Often, this rather ‘mundane’ process remains a black-box. In this paper, a reconfigured attention to atmospheric settings such as converted buildings are, is offered. From an Actor-Network-Theory point of view, it will be argued that when speaking of conversion as a process that transforms buildings one mainly speaks about material-semiotic changes made in the buildings’ atmospheres. Atmospheres in this view are actors of sociality that create their own actor-networks. Translated to converted buildings, thus, Atmospheric-Actor-Networks (AAN) configure how the sensual refurbishment of those buildings takes shape. With this perspective in mind, emphasis is placed on a case study of the conversion of the Palace of the Republic in Berlin in 2004-05 in which the benefits of this atmospheric-actor-network reading of aestheticization is exposed.

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