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"Google for President": Power and the Mediated Construction of an Unbuilt Big Tech Headquarters Project

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-22, 06:41 authored by Mark SawyerMark Sawyer, Georgia LindsayGeorgia Lindsay, Nadia Alaily-Mattar

Big Tech companies are powerful global actors that wield unprecedented influence, including in the realms of governance. How these companies position themselves through media is important to their power. Architecture plays a fundamental role in representations of Big Tech as influential agents, translating symbolic capital between fields, from architecture to Big Tech, and vice versa. Our qualitative content analysis of media of Google’s proposed project for a headquarters in Mountain View, California, shows how the mediatisation of renowned architects and their work helps translate the vast digital and financial power of Google into a palatable physical presence in a relatively small town with local concerns. The mediated architectural project provides a way for Google to step into governance roles while de-emphasising its global power. In this case, media representations of architecture are mobilised to construct a fictional future that a corporate actor presents as desirable locally and aspirational globally.

History

Sub-type

  • Article

Publication title

Architectural Theory Review

Volume

ahead-of-print

Issue

ahead-of-print

Pagination

16

ISSN

1326-4826

Department/School

Architecture and Design

Publisher

ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

Publication status

  • Published online

Rights statement

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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