Lefebvre (1968) argues that there were scarcity of foods but never having the problem of lacking of space in the past, but the overcrowded more economically developed countries is especially resolved in the larger towns and cities emerge the lack of space in the current era. Space is the word that commonly used in the architecture world, but people normally invalid to realize the different explanation or deeper understanding of space itself (Massey, 1992). In the current age, the class struggle is integrated with space more than ever before (Lefebvre, 1991). The space assigns under class is based on the origin of unequal development in the character of space and the profusion of space for the wealthy and too scarcity for the lower class or poor. Besides, spatial language might be dealing with controversy, compete and productivity because it reflects to the experience and employ of the space (Elden, 2007). Lefebvre (1991) proposes space is shaped by element from natural and history through the political process and it is the ultimate orbit and medium of struggle thus become a crucial political topic. From all these arguments, it emerges the idea of space as politics or space can be political.
Politics is normally demonstrated as the existence of power. There are two points of view about political, the first view is the existence of human relations organized by power, while the second view is the distinct problematic of negotiating the powers and values of enduring collective (Brown, 2002). Apart from the sense of political power, every architectural work can be treated as a symbol of richness, idealism, power and even the misery of its builders and their contemporaries (Braunfels, 1998). Vale (2008) also indicates every building award a sense of legitimacy to the local authorities who build and use it as well as mirror to the worldview of its builders and users instead of just serving its purpose. The relationship between power and architecture can be reflected to the relationship between politics and space. When it comes to the confluence of space and politics, capital cities capture position of unique implication (Minkenberg, 2014). All these capital cities, especially those are clearly designed and built to be capitals, the buildings and public space or square launched by the nation convey an undeniable political relationship. The Capital cities are defined as a demand of defending and representing the position of the government and other national institutions. In addition, buildings, urban design and public space are fundamental instrument in the constant exploration for justifiability and self-assurance (Minkenberg, 2014). Capital cities not just design buildings and spaces to defend the institutions of sovereignty, they do more to display them. Nationalism declare itself through the built environment and the mechanism of display with the temptation of sub-nationalism and invented history. For example, one of the most significant evidence of the temptation of display is the North-South Axis in Berlin. The idea by Albert Speer is intended the new city of Germania to be a global allegation of dominance and a signal of being the greatest to the rest of the world (Helmer, 1985). Apart from this, other governments have used urban design to inscribe a politics of nationalist display even more unduly. One of the most well-known evidence in twentieth century was the greatly designed square of Moscow. When Moscow was reclaimed as the position of government for the U.S.S.R., the leader of Soviet Union has found a way to display their power of the government by using the public space, Red Square, with the walls of Kremlin rising implacably above and behind it (Berton, 1977). The displays took two forms which are the periodic celebratory parades of military and flags equipment that moved across the square, and the static tableau of assembled dignitaries posing for pictures against a backdrop of crenelated brick, challenging Western pundits to indicate who was the dominant side based on their position (Minkenberg, 2014). In addition, another famous example is the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Following the People’s Revolution of 1949, the chairman of China, Mao Zedong reconstructed Tiananmen Square itself from a more humble T shaped palace channel into a broad masonry space which designed to allow assembling one million party faithful (Hung, 1991). Besides, Chairman Mao also changed the Forbidden City’s wall into a city-scaled gallery with an iconic portrait of himself which is even larger than the huge archway underneath (Minkinberg, 2014). With these typical examples, public space or square is being used and constructed to demonstrate the power of the government and this is how public space can be related to politics.
In public buildings and urban design, as in all artistic creation, some declarations intimate that art creation can form political approach, public buildings can stimulate specific political values and urban design can indicate the nation state (Minkenberg, 2014). In the case of Washington, DC, the site selection of nation’s parliament which are undoubtedly complete the standard of democratic legitimation through political process and also the architecture of the capitol building itself reflects its centrality. The monumental White House and Congress are both located on elevations which made them clearly visible from far away and bringing to mind of the spectacular ancient Rome and its hills, these two buildings introduce themselves on the landscape as the dominant view on the site (Scott, 1995). The appearance and the interior of the building mirror the concept of each chambers having equal power which are the system of a bicameral legislature. The style of the two chambers are equal and they are arranged symmetrically. For the interior, the seating arrangements and the chambers are fairly similar. From the influence of the momentum of the French Revolution, the seats are designed in a semi-circular shape to fight against the pre-modern rectangle (Manow, 2008). In addition, the Centre Block in Ottawa, built in 1867, contain two chambers of the parliament which is similar to the Capitol in Washington, DC. The arrangement of the building is symmetrical and the appearance of the two chambers is equal. However, the interior of the Centre Block is designed in a rectangle way with the benches of government and opposition facing each other (Manow, 2008). Comparing to the design of Capitol, with the idea of overlapping division of the executive and legislature, little physical space can be found between the locations of the government office. Apart from the Capitol in Washington, DC, and the Centre Block in Ottawa, another example is the Plaza of the Three Powers. The parliament building which is indicated to emphasise the superiority of the power of legislative over the executive, in effect indicates the superiority of the bureaucracy over the legislature (Vale, 2008). Besides that, compare to the monumental Capitol in Washington and Centre Block in Ottawa, visually, the dominance of the bureaucracy in the Congress of Brazil can be refer to a more modest or humble symbolization of the nation highest legislature (Minkenberg, 2014). In addition, the legislative chambers can be easily distinguish from the outside which is different comparing to the other parliament buildings, with the Assembly chamber is located under a massive and equally bowl, while the Senate is placed under the elegant flat dome. For the interior, the arrangement of the seats placed diversely from the circular or rectangular order (Minkenberg, 2014).
Furthermore, the Parliament Building in Canberra, designed by American architect Romaldo Giurgola is a movement of an Australian version of Modernism to the capital city of Australia, reflects to the Griffin’s original intention which is to be located below the top of the Camp Hill and make the national monument to be served as a site (Vale, 2008). The design from Giurgola is located into the Camp Hill instead of situated on top of the hill which is a very different intention compare to the Capitol in Washington, DC. This design allow visitors and citizens to walk on top of the government and legislature, giving them the opportunities of a clear and broad view of the capital city as well as giving us a sense of government is under the citizens (Minkenberg, 2014). In addition, the building itself is crowned by monumental size of steel flagpole instead of other monumentalized element such as dome. This type of monumentality compare to those that mentioned before, the 262 feet high building did not consider as a monumental structure establish on the landscape but the high rising flagpole is believed as the landmark on the site.