Placeless Architecture

Placeless Architecture

pair of photographs, angular concrete windowless building accompanied by concrete roofline with tv disk, blue skies;
Untitled (2020) by Bergen Grant

For the first time in recorded history, one can now travel to any large urban development and perceive architecture that appears familiar regardless of its geographical location. Contemporary architecture in specifically urban environments has become globalized, unified, and standardized; however, the impact of such a radical international adaptation of design ideals is somewhat unaccounted for. Although an individual can travel from one global hub to another without observing differentiations in architectural compositions, this cultural and historical appropriation is only exponentially resulting in an inundation of placeless architecture. Space and place are common synonyms in colloquial, yet a psychological dichotomy exists between the two anthropological terms through the lens of architecture. The definitions of space and place include numerous different concepts depending on the domain of focus. In the domain of architecture, space is commonly used to describe the objective distance an individual is able to roam, while place has been defined as a subjective and situational area that conveys intimate relational histories, identities, and exhibits cultural grounding. As technology enables humanity to modernize at an unprecedented rate, the forces of globalism and urban expansion continue to redefine the distinctions between spaces and places. Yet, as these distinctions are altered, a new spatial concept known as placelessness has emerged. Rather than being classified as a space or place, placelessness alludes to a subjective spatial quality in which a location is impersonal and exists between the blurred cross section of space and place. In Europe, placelessness designs originate from the period of economic expansion after World War II, when new modernist architecture ideologies expanded through mass implementation, resulting in a uniform urban landscape of placeless Bauhaus and Brutalist structures. Therefore, this essay will argue that placelessness has a psychological dimension which conceptually originates from the application of technologically advanced building materials, the displacement of ornate structural details for geometric computations, and the idealist intentions of new architecture. 

In order to introduce how modernism altered the foundation of architectural design and caused placeless designs to become standardized in urban environments during the twentieth century, the work of Sigmund Freud must be brought into the discourse. In 1919, Freud published an essay titled “The Uncanny,” in which he defines the psychoanalytic concept of the uncanny in relation to subjective aesthetics. In the introduction of his essay, Freud articulates the experiential definition of uncanny as an individual’s dread to exist in a state, “in which one does not know where one is, as it were.”1 Freud explains that humans subconsciously tend to prefer environments where they are “better oriented,” as the more familiarized one is with the surrounding environment, “the less readily he will get the impression of something uncanny.”2. To escape the uncanny, Freud accounts that humans tend to favor environments that are heimlich places, a German word meaning “familiar, native, and belonging to home,” rather than unheimlich spaces.3. Therefore, in order for humans to become better oriented with their surroundings, the modern world conceptually strove to feel “familiar, native, and belonging to home” regardless of the geographical displacement. Architects stood at the forefront of this experiential revolution, striving to achieve a uniformly heimlich environment. 

Coincidentally, the same year Freud published “The Uncanny,” a subversive design school known as the Bauhaus was cofounded in the city of Weimar, Germany, by the renowned architect Walter Gropius. As the most influential modernist design school of the twentieth century, the Bauhaus believed that a single individual’s accomplishment must not be rewarded, but rather students should progress toward “the creation of a commonly usable type of development towards standards.”4 As the underlying principle of the institution, the Bauhaus enforced the standardization and uniformity of functional designs in order to enable the mass production of idealist works. 

As one of the pioneers of modernist architecture, Gropius envisioned a future where traditional architecture was superseded by unified, geometric, and transparent designs that enabled a form to follow its intended function. In his extended essay The New Architecture and the Bauhaus, originally published in 1965, Gropius writes about his design methodology and asserts that, “architectural standardization is not an impediment of civilization, but, on contrary, one of its immediate prerequisites.”5 In a sense, whether consciously or subconsciously, Freud’s emphasis on the significance of heimlich environments is displayed in Gropius’s design methodologies and architectural intentions. By supporting the development and integration of standardization in the field of architectural design as humanity continued to urbanize, Gropius encouraged the progression of visual uniformity in urban settings, which consequently should have caused citizens to feel heimlich regardless of the geographic location of the structure. Hypothetically, if one is surrounded by a familiar environment at all times, one would never feel uncanny, and always at home, heimlich. However, Gropius’s architectural design methodologies consisted of such unheimlich principles, the standardization and global implementation of his practice resulted in a global expansion of unheimlich structures. This consequential unheimlich alteration conceptually revolves around the lack of distinction between space and place, specifically resulting in the creation of placeless areas. Therefore, this essay will account for the direct correlation between unheimlich structures and the spatial phenomena of placelessness. 


While numerous anthropologists, philosophers, and human geographers have attempted to explain the psychoanalytical dichotomy between spaces and places, Chinese-American geographer Yi-Fu Tuan highlights these differences through his humanistic geographical approach in his extended 1979 essay, Space and Place: The Perspective of the Experience. In order to define the interrelated yet contrasting qualities of spaces and places, Tuan focuses strictly on the relational human dimensionality of geographical spatiality. In order to analyze spaces and places, Tuan breaks down each humanistic sense of experience, ranging from the physical senses of an infant to the professional lens of a master architect. When focusing on the modes of experiencing spaces and places, Tuan accounts that the greatest differences between spaces and places parallel that of objectivity and subjectivity, estrangement and intimacy, and mobility and residency. Tuan explains that space is a symbolic interpretation of the objective dimension, defined by the proportions of a volume, and experienced “directly as having room in which to move.”6 Although this definition is very abstract, this is inherent, as Tuan posits that “space is an abstract concept,” one that causes an individual to experience a sense of separation from oneself and the environment due to the dimensional and non-relational nature of space.7 Tuan defines place as a far more subjective and intimate stationary entity, defined by the relationality and organization between the perceiver and the area. Tuan explains that “places are centers of value where biological needs, such as food, water, rest, and procreation are satisfied,” and emphasises that a “pause in movement makes it possible for a location to be transformed into a place.”8 The attribute of relational intimacy and permanency has been noted as a fundamental principle of places by numerous anthropologists. In fact, according to contemporary French anthropologist Marc Augé, “A place can be defined as relational, historical, and concerned with identity.”9 

Conceptually, it makes logical sense for an architect to aspire to create residential places, where individuals possess a subjective and intimate relationship with the center of value. In Tuan’s introduction to his extended essay, he states that “planners would like to evoke a sense of place.”10 In an anthropological account of the nineteenth and twentieth century homes, sociologist Tony Chapman writes, “Home, as an idea, place, and object, consumes a significant proportion of individual’s incomes and preoccupies their day-dreams and leisures.”11. For nearly all of recorded history, humans have lived within places referred to as homes, which were likely perceived as heimlich environments by the occupants.

Yet Gropius’s idealist design methodologies for new architecture significantly altered the heimlich, place-like qualities of contemporary residential housing after his standardized design mentalities were internationally adopted due to the extenuating global circumstances. After the Nazi Party issued the closure of the Bauhaus school due to percieved “cultural Bolshevism,” dozens of Bauhaus professors fled to other international urban hubs and continud to spread their methedologies at respected universites and institutions.12 Through this expansive international growth, new modernist architecture ideologies took hold and were implemented globally, resulting in a fundamental sense of placeless in the newly uniform, unheimlich, urban landscape. Although the Bauhaus school revolutionized the twentieth century field of architecture in numerous ways, the most elementary principles that redefined architectural methodologies and resulted in a surplus of unheimlich, placeless structures entail from the implementation of technologically advanced building materials, the displacement of ornate detail for geometric computations, and the emphasis of space creation in effective new architecture. Once these new elements became rudimentary principles in modern architectural design, the standardization of these elements essentially produced uniform urban landscapes across the globe, consisting of unheimlich, placeless structures. 


First, the implementation of technologically advanced building materials revolutionized new architecture in numerous ways. When describing the significance of these new building materials and their role in effective new architecture, Gropius’s ideals closely revolve around the newfound structural possibilities after steel and glass became customary elements in standard architectural design. Gropius specifically praised the role of glass panes in design, and wrote the following in his architectural memoir: “As a direct result of growing preponderance of voids over solids, glass is assuming an even greater structural importance. It sparkles insubstantially, and the way it seems to float between wall and wall imponderable as air, adds a note of gaiety to our modern homes.”13 Although glass was considered to be an essential architectural element due to its elegant visual appearance, the potential to implement a voidal material into the structural design configuration of an enclosure served as a foundational advancement for new architecture. 

Although the addition of glass in new architecture superseded many original design constraints and enabled structures to feel more connected to the surrounding environment, glass also caused many fundamental heimlich qualities of architectural design to alter and result in unheimlich, placeless structures. As Tuan explains, 

Consider the sense of an inside and an outside of intimacy and exposure, of private places and public spaces [. . .] Constructed form has the power to heighten the awareness and accentuate, as it were, the differences in emotional temperature between inside and outside. Inside the enclosure, undisturbed by distractions from the outside, human relations and feelings can rise to a high level of warmth.14 

Once glass became an elementary design material in new modernist architecture, the differentiation between inside place and outside space of architectural forms began to deteriorate. Conceptually, inside of a structure is a place, as the individuals that stationarily reside within possess a sense of subjective relational intimacy with the structure. Outside of a structure is a space, as there is a somewhat unfamiliar and objective distance in which an individual can roam. Therefore, the voidal transparency of glass enables an inhabitant to view the surrounding space from within their place, but also allows for the surrounding space to infiltrate their defined place, resulting in an immediate sense of placelessness. 

While glass panes immediately modified the structural differentiation between the inside place and outside space of architectural designs, the general floor plan of residential structures also fundamentally altered in order to highlight the “gaiety” of glass. When accounting for the intended goals of new architecture, the Bauhaus school offered, “The new architecture, on its highest plane, will be called upon to remove conflict between organic and artificial, between open and closed, between the country and city.”15 Therefore, one of the essential goals of new architecture was to design exposed structures which effectively promoted the correspondence between the exterior space and interior place. 

When Gropius moved in 1937 to Boston, Massacussets, to teach his new architecture methodologies at Harvard, he designed a nearby residential house for his own use. This house was a structural achievement for Gropius, as it allowed him to visually articulate every architectural methodology he taught during the prior eighteen years. Within the design, Gropius composed large floor-to-ceiling glass windows around the circumference of the structure. However, his design also radically altered the traditional floor plan for a residential structure, as both the living room and dining room were located aside large windows on the north-eastern corner of the structure rather than being displaced within the interior of the floorplan. As modernist architectural methodologies continued to spread around the globe, this spacious, exposed method of architectural design became common in modernist structures, further resulting in placeless designs. 

When reflecting upon traditional architectural floor plans from early societies, Tuan explains, “The interior space as such is a commonplace of experience. We have already noted the ensuing and universal antithesis between inside and outside. Historically, interior space was dark and narrow,”16 In order to visually define this distinction between the interior place and exterior space of structures, Tuan displays floor plans of houses built using vernacular architectural techniques in Oaxaca, Mexico, between 2,000 and 300 BC. Within each of these floor plan layouts, the interior common room is distinctly divided from the exterior of the structure, with the bedrooms and kitchens arranged as a buffer. Each common room is windowless, and frequently used skylights for illumination. Tuan proceeds to further describe that this layout was intentional, as “the system expresses both principles of classification and a value for classification, the definition of unity and difference.”17 Therefore, Tuan explains that this primitive floor plan displayed “social order,” as the interior common room was the most sacred and intimate of all places within the home, conceptually and physically divided from the exterior space outside of the home. When analyzing contemporary floor plans from the 1970s, Tuan accounts that, “What distinguishes Western technological society is that its built environment, which is persuasive and dominant, nonetheless has only minimal cosmic or transcendental significance.”18 Through this statement, Tuan highlights the phenomena in which the interior rooms of structures become less spiritually intimate places, as a direct result of technological Western advances. Due to the implementation of glass, the differentiation between interior place and exterior space of a structure becomes even less apparent 

Gropius’s contemporary floor plan, and intention to “remove conflict between organic and artificial, between open and closed, between the country and city’” only resulted in an extenuation of  placelessness.19 By arranging the floor plan of a contemporary home using Gropius’s design methodologies (as displayed within Gropius’s personal home from 1937), the intimate interior common room is displaced from the central enclosed interior place and set along the circumferencing open exterior space, aside large floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  In this design, not only is the intimate interior place uprooted, and set along the exterior, resulting in a significantly less distinct differentiation between the interior and exterior, the glass planes enables the exterior space to infiltrate the exposed intimate interior commonplace, resulting in an acute sense of the unheimlich, placelessness. 


The implementation of new technologically advanced building materials was not the only differentiation of new modernist architecture design that resulted in a sense of placelessness. Gropius and many other design professors at the Bauhaus worked in collaboration when structuring the student’s core architectural curriculum. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a Hungarian painter and photographer was a close associate of Gropius, and frequently wrote about the institute’s ideologies and intentions, such as that architecture must be simplified and modernized in order to benefit “man’s biological existence.”20 In order to advance this architectural revolution, design professors at the Bauhaus school believed that, “Architects must guard against the pressure of the subjective desire to change objective forms which express function, in order to make them more beautiful, by the addition of decorative elements,” and rather accentuate the, “geometry, color, and composition,” of the architectural design.21 Professors at the Bauhaus school explained that in order to fully appreciate and experience the essential content of architecture, the architect must eliminate distracting elements such as “Doric pillars, Carithian capitals, Romanesque arches, and Gothic rose-windows,” and rather emphasize the form, geometry, and composition of the structure.22 Therefore, the founders of new modernist architecture perceived ornate details on architectural compositions as nothing more than “decorative elements” which derailed the viewer from experiencing “a real appreciation of the essential content”23 Thus, as the foundational methodology of the Bauhaus school endorsed that form must follow function, Bauhaus professors believed the cultural and historical ornate details of buildings did not impact the function and essential purpose of new architecture. Yet, when the ornate detail of a structure is removed, the identity and relational history of the composition is detached, resulting in a disconnected, unheimlich form. By stripping an architectural composition of its ornate detail, and replacing such with abstract geometric compositions, the structure becomes impersonal and placeless. 

When ornamental detail is removed from a structure, what is left remains primarily geometric. Without any accentuated detail, the structure becomes impressionist in a sense, as the architect’s choices convey only a limited amount of information to the viewer. This result served as one of the foundational attributes of new architecture, as ornate detail was intentionally replaced with geometry, colume, color, and composition. Although abstraction causes the viewer to become both visually stimulated and disoriented due to the nonrepresentational composition, this absence of identity heightens a sense of placelessness. 

In order to understand the consequences of perceiving an entirely abstract geometric composition, the perception of an infant must be brought into the discourse. When analyzing an infant’s geometric spatial recognition, Tuan writes, 

At birth an infant’s cerebral cortex has only about 10 to 20 percent of the normal complement of nerve cells in a mature brain; moreover many of the nerve cells are not connected with each other. The infant has no world. He can not distinguish between self and external environment [. . .] The infant uses his hands to explore the tactile and geometrical characteristics of his environment.24 

Due to an infant’s underdeveloped cerebral cortex, as well as their inability to differentiate between their physical body and the surrounding world, they are unable to foundationally understand the subjective concept of place. In order to explore the surrounding environment through their fragmented and impersonal perception, infants grasp the volumetric concept of space through palpable interactions with geometric objects. Therefore, an infant is unable to understand the humanistic distinctions between a space and a place due to their limited perception and fixation on geometry, which Tuan refers to as “highly abstract spaces.”25 As a result, infants exist within a perceived placeless physical environment for their preliminary years, and struggle to identify any non-human object as a place. 

Although an infant would perceive ornate detail as abstract geometry, mature humans are able to link the differentiating forms of ornate detail to conceptual ideas, especially if they have been educated to discern the symbolic meaning in relation to history and identity of the shape, which results in a conceptual sense of a place rather than a space. An example of this phenomena would be the geometric form of a vertical cylinder with circumferencing incremental indents accompanied by two circular forms resting upon the top. An infant would perceive this structure as geometric, but yet through the perspective of an adult raised in the Westernized world, this geometrical composition is recognized as an Ionic Column, which reflects the architectural ideals of Greece during the fifth century BC. 


In a sense, the symbolic and relational identity of a Ionic Column immediately evokes a sense of place due to the historical foundation of the form. Tuan explains that, “Human beings discern geometric patterns in nature and try to embody their feelings, images, and thoughts into tangible material.”26 Therefore, when mature humans perceive abstract geometry, the subconscious mind immediately attempts to decipher the form into some sort of recognizable symbolic identity, which Tuan explains revolves around the elementary identification of Euclidean geometry, consisting of shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, and other polygons. But yet the recognition of a triangle or square does not communicate a historical or relational identity to the perceiver,  geometric compositions results in a sense of abstraction and placelessness. The perception of highly abstract geometric shapes is experienced similarly by both infants and mature adults, as there is no perceivable symbolic relation between the nonrepresentational shape and a historical identity or sense of place. Similarly, new architecture intended for historically ornate detail to be superseded by highly abstract geometric compositions, which resulted in an immediate sense of placelessness, as a mature human is unable to decipher the “highly abstract spaces” and impose a sense of relational or historical identity upon the form. Although through a contemporary lesne, abstract geometrical architectural compositions evoke the Bauhaus in a sense, the absence of ornate detail in modern architecture still arguably enforces the same nonrepresentational forms as did the Bauhaus one hundred years prior. Modern architecture serves as a contemporary and idealistic mirror of our current society, and perpetually enforces non representational structural enclosures. Reputable present day architects undoubtedly borrow ideals and concepts from prior architectural periods, as all architecture somewhat borrows and modifies past trends, yet abstract contemporary architecture lacks a true perceivable historical backing. White walls do not inherently identify as a Bauhaus form due to its abstraction and non representational identity, it remains abstract and free from identity due to its absence of symbolic and historical identification. As a result of eradicated symbolic detail in new modernist architectural compositions, a significant sense of unheimlich placelessness is promoted. Although the displacement of ornate detail for geometric compositions altered the sense of place in new architecture, the foundational idealistic intentions of Bauhaus architecture only further enforced placeless design. 


Moreover, the central objective for new architecture radically altered the place-like, heimlich qualities of structures. Gropius and many other professors responsible for directing the Bauhaus architecture department possessed many new ideals for the elementary design of modernist architecture, but their most progressive mentality revolved around their conceptual foundational intentions for effective architecture. Architecture professors at the Bauhaus school believed that the methodology behind designing a rational structure was governed by an architect’s “functional capacity for grasping space.”27 Although the Bauhaus often promoted that effective architecture must complement the biological wellbeing of its inhabitants through the enhancement of senses such as “sight, hearing, equilibrium, and movement,” new architecture did not consider the spatial element of place to be essential for the heimlich welfare of its residents.28 Instead of designing a structure to encase space, and create a habitable heimlich place, new architecture intended to create objective unheimlich spaces. Although architects prior to the Bauhaus movement commonly focused on technical aspects of construction and the accessibility of vernacular building materials, new architecture revolutionized the fundamental intention for architecture as “the mastery of space.”29 Thus, the intention of creating a sense of place nearly stood to be the antithesis of new architecture, as Bauhaus architects declared that “A dwelling should not be a retreat from space, but a life in space.”30 Rather than methodically designing a structure that promotes a sense of place, a “center of felt value where biological needs, such as those for food, water, rest, and procreation, are satisfied,” through a subjective relationship with the inhabitant, new architecture intentionally worked to create objectively non-relational spaces, which inherently promoted a sense of mobility and estrangement. 

 Although architects often use terms of spaciousness when describing a structure, the creation of space must not be confused with a sense of spaciousness. As Tuan highlights, a place can be spacious when not crowded by bodies or objects, but yet a sense of spaciousness does not directly imply that the environment is conceptually classified as a space rather than a place.31 Contrarily, Tuan explains that although both a natural forest and a valley would be identified as a space, a forest would conceptually appear less spacious than the valley, resulting in a relational sense of place due to the confining organic structures. Therefore, spacious attributes of architectural designs do not necessarily promote the creation of a space rather than a place, and hypothetically can still exist in harmony within places. But yet, rather than working to create a freeing sense of spaciousness in new architecture, the Bauhaus professors entirely disregarded this dialect and concept, and rather specifically focused on the creation of spaces rather than places, or even spacious places. 

The emphasis on space creation was a result of collectively shared ideologies between architecture professors, as well as visits by influential guests. One of the most reputable guests at the Bauhaus school was Le Corbusier, a French-Swiss architect who frequently visited his close friend, Walter Gropius.32 Despite the fact that little information is recorded about their discussions, their designs and modernist ideologies both closely aligned with one another, as visibly apparent through their architectural compositions. In 1923, Le Corbusier published the book Toward an Architecture, in which he declares that sole elements of architectural designs are “light and shade, walls and space,” yet again, entirely disregarding the element of place creation.33 Le Corbusier also appraised the idea of a “mass production houses,” in which the human heart and mind is discounted to create a standardized, “objective space” that can easily be manufactured by the revolutionized industry.34 Yet his impersonal ideologies only extend further in his book, and Corbusier eventually establishes the motto “A house is a machine for living in.”35 In this final analogy, Corbusier compares the intimate characteristics of a home, a heimlich place, to that of objective, impersonal, unheimlich machinery. 

In order to compose such an untraditional and radical style of architecture, Corbusier began to define his own interpretation of new architecture methodologies. After publishing Toward an Architecture in 1923, Corbusier’s architectural compositions grew increasingly industrial, and consisted of large geometric concrete volumes. In 1952, Corbusier contributed to the creation of a new a style of architecture after designing a groundbreaking modernist residential structure in France known as the Unité d’Habitation.36 This building was emblematic of a new style of architecture, Brutalism, which was composed of aggressive geometric forms and fabricated out of stark planes of concrete and glass. Yet, when analyzing the structural elements of Brutalist architecture, nearly every methodical element of its design directly mirrors the ideals of new architecture taught at the Bauhaus school. Brutalist architecture implemented large panes of glass throughout the exterior of the composition, evoked all decorative details from the composition of structures in order to form geometric compositions, and most of all, emphasized the creation of space rather than a sense of place. Hypothetically, Brutalist architecture served as a visual thesis of each ideal and methodology of new architecture, magnified to a blatant and apparent composition. As form follows function, Brutalism was designed for its intended purpose: expansion through mass production. 

Brutalist architecture quickly gained global traction for a variety of circumstantially appealing reasons. During the postwar period, structures not only had to be fabricated quickly to recover from overwhelming destruction that had occurred, they also had to be constructed at a minimal cost. Brutalism was not only easy to mass produce due to the elementary nature of the style, as Corbusier evidently took into consideration, it also was extremely affordable to construct due to the surplus of concrete and steel following war production.37 For these reasons, Brutalist architecture rapidly expanded across the globe, and was implemented by numerous nations.

However, Brutalist architecture was also implemented in the Eastern European Communist countries as a form of new national socialist architecture, and was commonly associated with socialist utopian ideologies. Due to the affordability and short construction duration, socialist and communist countries grew to favor Brutalist architecture as a means to fabricate an idealistic utopian society.38 As time progressed, Brutalism acquired a notable stigma in the West due to its association with socialism and communism, as well as its collectively agreed upon repelling appearance. Contemporary architectural critics have referred to Brutalist structures as “soulless, sordid, and at best ignored [. . .] Ugly brutes that squat on our town centers and destroy the historic fabric of our cities.”39 This revolting appearance is commonly linked to Brutalism’s pervasive, imposing, impersonal, and dominating aspects, but yet these elements closely mirror that of which caused new architecture to fundamentally develop unheimlich, placeless structures. Although traditional Brutalist architecture is rarely constructed in contemporary society, the elementary nature of its placeless design is still increasingly relevant, and must consciously be considered as the modern field of architecture advances. 


In the twenty-first century, architecture has continued to surpass prior technical challenges, has risen to new uncharted elevations, implemented advanced computational parametric compositions, and incorporated innovative and creative sustainable approaches to address climate and pollution-related issues. Yet, on an elementary and ideological level, contemporary architecture possesses the same unheimlich and placeless attributes that were founded at the Bauhaus school, and visually magnified by Brutalism. As architecture has continued to redefine the distinctions between spaces and places, the spatial phenomena of placeless has only been further accentuated. Now more than ever in architectural design, glass is considered a necessity, ornate details are stripped away to emphasise geometric compositions, and the creation of space dominates one’s sense of place. Although modern civil engineering and technological advancements have enabled new materials to form extremely complex computations, the fundamental elements and methodologies of placeless, unheimlich, new architecture is extremely prevalent in our uniform contemporary field of architecture. Today a citizen is able to travel to Dubai, London, New York, Iceland, Singapore, Prague, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Beijing, Hamburg, or nearly any other large urban center, and perceive architecture that appears familiar regardless of its geographic location. Contemporary architecture in specifically urban environments has become globalized, unified, and standardized, which conceptually would prevent a citizen from ever feeling uncanny due to the familiar surroundings. Yet, rather than creating a heimlich globe, where one can travel between cities and feel “better oriented” regardless of their geographic location, the placeless elements of new architecture have resulted in a globally unified unheimlich environment. Our world has been inundated by homogenous urban landscapes, and now more than ever is the global citizen left stranded in a placeless world. As a somewhat undiscussed phenomena, the inundation of placeless designs must be perceived and addressed by the architects responsible for planning the cities of the future.

concrete road and concrete wall with orange construction cone and arrow in foreground
Switchback (2017) by Bergen Grant
  1. Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, translated by David McLintock (Penguin Classics, 2003) 2.
  2. Freud, The Uncanny 2
  3. Freud, The Uncanny, 2
  4. Hans Wingler, Bauhaus, translated by Wolfgang Jabs and Basil Gilbert (MIT Press, 1978) 9.
  5. Walter Gropius, translated by P. Morton Shand (MIT Press, 1965), 20.
  6. Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (University of Minnesota Press, 1977), 12.
  7. Tuan, Space and Place, 6.
  8. Tuan, Space and Place, 4.
  9. Marc Augé, Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, translated by John Howe (Verso Books, 2008) 77.
  10. Tuan, Space and Place, 3.
  11. Tony Chapman, “Preface,” in Ideal Homes?: Social Change and Domestic Life, edited by Tony Chapman and Jenny Hockey, (Routledge, 1999),  xi.
  12. Wingler, Bauhaus, 562.
  13. Gropius, The New Architecture and the Bauhaus, 29.
  14. Tuan, Space and Place, 107.
  15. Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, The New Vision, 1928, and Abstract of an Artist, translated by Daphne M. Hoffman (Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc., 1947),60.
  16. Tuan, 110.
  17. Tuan, Space and Place, 113.
  18. Tuan, Space and Place, 114.
  19. Nagy, The New Vision,60.
  20. Nagy, The New Vision, 57.
  21. Nagy, The New Vision, 30.
  22. Nagy, The New Vision, 59.
  23. Nagy, The New Vision, 59.
  24. Tuan, Space and Place, 20.
  25. Tuan, Space and Place, 17.
  26. Tuan, Space and Place, 17.
  27. Nagy, The New Vision, 59.
  28. Nagy, The New Vision, 59.
  29. Gropius, The New Architecture and Bauhaus,24.
  30. Nagy, The New Vision, 59.
  31. Tuan, Space and Place, 52.
  32. Wingler, Bauhaus, 228.
  33. Le Corbusier, Toward an Architecture, translated by John Goodman (Getty Research Institute, 2007), 5.
  34. Le Corbusier, Toward an Architecture, 7.
  35. Corbusier, Toward an Architecture, 151.
  36. Wingler, Bauhaus, 228.
  37. Wingler, Bauhaus, 522.
  38. Sonia Al-Najjar Al-Najjar and Wael Al-Azhari, “Brutalist Architecture In Jordan: Towards a Codifying Methodology,” Journal of Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology (2020), 3828.
  39. John Grindrod, How to Love Brutalism (Bastford Ltd., 2018) 5.
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