Master Thesis: Disappearing Territory. Technological Urbanism as a Military Weapon
by Melsida Babayan
Dr. Marija Maric
Spring Semester 2023
War destroys cities to the point of unrecognition; it leaves people with trauma and loss. The shape of cities drastically changes and adapts to specific situations that war dictates. Everyone knows and sees the destructive capacities of war, but architecture and construction could also have destructive capacities. This thesis project looks at how throughout and after the war, architecture, reconstruction of new settlements (smart villages), technology, and infrastructure have been used as war weapons in claiming and colonizing territories through investigations of real-life examples in Artsakh—a disputed, unrecognized de facto republic in the South Caucasus inhabited by mainly ethnic Armenians, that has been for centuries a center of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
How can we distinguish revitalization from spatial architectural solutions disguised as military tools? This research takes political laws and maps produced by different actors, using them as a tool to unpack these questions. In this research, mapping becomes the tool for repairing the territory. It questions the news and media-produced political representation of maps: and proposes another way of seeing them, rather than acknowledging maps as a 2D tool or scheme to give a piece of technical or political-strategic information. What could be another way of making maps in the context of war? The thesis is an architectural approach of differently seeing and representing maps, using them as a form to claim the rights of the people affected and urge for recognition and response to this destructive problem in different parts of the world.