The Aesthetics of Power: Architecture, Modernity, and Identity from Siam to Thailand

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Maurizio Peleggi


This is an ambitious and, on the whole,accomplished work that examines with both richnessof detail and conceptual sophistication the politicsof representation in the architecture and urbanspace of Siam/Thailand from the mid nineteenthcentury to the present. Based on a 2003 dissertationat the University of Colorado but updated to includeevents of the last decade, the book is informed bythe author’s knowledge of both architectural theoryand practice as well as of cultural theory andhistoriography. As such, The Aesthetics of Powerrepresents a significant improvement on a previousEnglish-language work with a similar timeframe,Clarence Aasen’s Architecture of Siam: A CulturalHistory (1998), and establishes Koompong Noobanjong’spre-eminence among a new generation ofhistorically-minded architectural historians, which alsoincludes Chatri Prakitnondhakarn, whose Kanmuanglae sangkhom nai silpa satthapatayakam sayamsamai thaiprayuk chatniyom (BE 2547 [2004]) overlapsboth thematically and chronologically with the bookunder review.


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