Overall description on Architecture of Control

Under the title ”Architecture of Control” the project examines the form and function of the military guard/watch towers in the context of design and architecture. The project includes typological records, scale models, working drawings and historical research formed into geopolitical archaeology, which can tell us something about the development of viewing technologies – from the development of the panopticon to flying watchtowers such as satellites and drones.

The intention is to give a broader perspective on the watchtower as icon of surveillance. By relating the modern watchtower in different contexts and connections to a cross disciplinarian research field. The aim is to create awareness, or create debate about conflicts, borders and surveillance and use the methodology from a designers position to give new perspectives on objects and spaces.

The military watchtower is today one of the clearest manifestations of surveillance technology. As object and icon, it is one of few physical and tangible structures of surveillance that visualizes and concretizes the modern, digital surveillance of data. On a general level, the development of 20th-century military watchtowers can be seen as part of a technological development of different “vision machines”. These diverse technologies of vision use different forms of design and architecture and they create certain social, political and power-related conditions for the landscape and the human being.

As a phenomenon of architecture and design, the watchtower can therefore be regarded as the foundation for the development of emerging structures of new ”vision machines” in the surveillance society. Thus, the watchtower stands out as the very symbol of historical and contemporary surveillance culture.