Tunnel Vision: Linda Mulcahy Speaks About Architecture + Law

By ai

Sept. 3, 2014

6:30 p.m.

L5, Building 6, 702 Harris St, Ultimo

Legal Architecure by Linda Mulcahy

Tunnel Vision? What can architecture and art tell law about itself?

Abstract: This lecture will explore the interface between the disciplines of architecture and law. Moving beyond common conceptions of the relationship between the two disciplines as being primarily concerned with the protection of intellectual property in design, the regulation of construction practice or the resolution of disputes in the building industry, this paper will attempt to articulate a jurisprudence of design that focuses on the many ways in which the potential for a shared intellectual project has been neglected. More particularly it will look at the juxtaposition of concepts of design and due process in relation to the history of ideas about how courthouses should look, engage with space and be experienced.  Drawing on Linda Mulcahy's recent book Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process and the Place of Law, and more recent work being funded by the Leverhulme Trust this talk will analyse the ways in which both historic and modern courthouses disrupt progressive accounts of the history of modern law and procedure in ways unanticipated by legal historians.  By exploring how dominant narratives around court design have been negotiated, implemented and experienced it will consider the many ways in which lawyers and architects have been complicit in the construction and legitimation of modern fortresses that are not so very different from the medieval castles in which justice was meted out. It will be argued that the rise of the security expert as primary form-maker has militated against the emergence of a critical or democratic design aesthetic for courts which takes into account the shared goal of more radical aspirations of law and architecture towards participation and transparency.


Professor Linda Mulcahy has held posts at the Universities of Bristol, Oxford, London, South Bank, and the Law Commission, and is currently Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where she is the Director of the LSE Doctoral Training Centre. Having gained qualifications in law, sociology and the history of art and architecture, her work is strongly interdisciplinary. Her research focuses on the socio-legal dynamics of disputes and their resolution and she has received a number of grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK Department of Health, Nuffield Foundation and the National Lottery in support of her work. She is currently in receipt of three research grants one of which is funding a collaborative two-year project with Dr Emma Rowden at UTS. Her most recent book, Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process and the Place of Law, has received critical acclaim and has prompted invitations to deliver plenary lectures at conferences across the UK, Australia, USA, France, Portugal and China.




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