What People Want

Populist tendencies in architecture are nothing new. Nevertheless, in the century just ended, two decisive factors enabled populism to assume far greater dimensions: on one hand, the market economy and the accompanying structural transformation or de-politicization of society—i.e. the increasing freedom of each individual member of society—and, on the other hand, the media, which nowadays not only interlink everything, but also, above all, make a global transfer of information possible.

For the DOM Conferences, which were conceived and developed to introduce non-architectural questions into architecture and thereby to question the role of contemporary architecture, we asked what the idea of populism might mean today other than its political connotations.

This book, which arose from the 2nd DOM Conference in Linz, examines the concept of Populism in some 30 expert contributions. The interdisciplinary composition of the panels produces an enhanced concept of Populism whilst reaching conclusions relevant to the architectural profession. One of the aims of this book, then, is to outline the ways in which populism has brought about continuous transformations of architecture and design in various ways. Another is to show how naïve certain populist strategies are and what connotations adhere to this term.