project: protection of democracy year: 2021, type: open project program: renovation, conversion area: 147.000 m2, architecture: Opposite Office team: Benedikt Hartl location: Washington, USA
Democracies have come under increasing pressure in recent years. In many countries, democracy is being decomposed by right-wing groups and enemies of democracy. In some countries this is done through extra-parliamentary groups, but in some countries enemies of democracy are already in power.
There are anti-democratic attacks and targeted attacks on democratic norms.
The storm on the Capitol on January 6, 2020 provides the corresponding images and strengthens the narrative of the democratic crisis. But how can democracy defend itself?
With the dystopian project “Capitol Castle”, Opposite Office is showing a version of democracy that has to hide behind ever higher walls.
The seat of the congress is being converted into a fortress. A layer of 1.5m solid walls is placed in front of the classical building.
Democracy sees itself as an open house. Power is by the people, but what do we do when these people are divided?
Not only the USA, but many countries are struggling for social cohesion. Digitization, globalization, social inequality and social networks are accelerating polarization and division.
So how can democracy protect itself from these attacks? This will not work with high walls and isolation, as the dystopia of the Capitol Castle shows, but also not through moralization and social outcast.
Democracy is not a fortress! The only protection of democracy lies in social justice, fair living conditions, fair wages and a real social perspective for everybody!
Democracy is love!
Read about our project in international press, e.g.:
The full length film was shown and awarded at different film festivals such as Milano Design Film Festival, Caesar Design Film Awards and Architecture Film Award. Watch the trailer here: Capitol Castle - About democracy