Political theorist Paul Hirst notes that the trend for almost every single nation is one of increasing ethnic and cultural diversity. The trend has resulted in a pluralist of politics, and the model of government has evolved from a singular body into a web of public and private, of supra-national, multi-national, national, and regional systems which are of a complexity that resembles a medieval city state system.
Hirst provides an alternative to this model, based largely on British Structuralist Althusser. The model is comprised of three elements. First, new politics should emerge from an associational web in which territory and functional have a disjunctive relationship. Responsibility would be ceded to communities for self government. In other words, there would be numerous, different spheres. Second, Most communities should have the capacity for self regulation. Third, municipal authorities would be ceded to functional authorities, regional governments, and self governing groups. Meanwhile, larger avenues of government would still be responsible for infrastructure, planning, lighting, etc.
Using Hirst’s model, I conceived of Austin, Texas an as ideal site to create a municipal, governing structure to act as a counterpoint to the State Capitol. This of course, is because Austin is so politically distinct from the rest of the state. Yet, almost paradoxically, it houses the capitol building for the State. I call this project, the Austin Capitol Project. The basis of this project is to see if a new form of political architecture might emerge based on a theoretical program, drawing one real cues from a real site based on a real friction.