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Newcastle University (2016)

The historical transformation of civic architecture : city council buildings and urban change in Tripoli, Libya

El-Allous, Abdelatif M. O

Titre : The historical transformation of civic architecture : city council buildings and urban change in Tripoli, Libya

Auteur : El-Allous, Abdelatif M. O

Université de soutenance : Newcastle University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2016

Résumé
Since early urbanisation, governmental public architecture has dominated the urban landscape and shaped the presence and perceptions of those who work, visit and live around it due to the monumental forms, practical bureaucratic functions, embellished and practical spaces, and central urban positions often in proximity to central squares and marketplaces. Public architecture has recently seen dramatic transformations in all these physical aspects, but few studies have explored the changes in powerful invisible values such as the symbolic meanings attached to such buildings, particularly in developing countries. This thesis uses historical, observational, qualitative and quantitative data to conduct an architectural and urban spatial mapping and analysis in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli and its historical municipal buildings (TMBs) to achieve two aims : to understand the historical narrative of the development of the city centre of Tripoli in relation to the city council buildings created by previous rulers ; and to trace the history and evaluate the present significance of the currently used central municipal building of Tripoli, built during Italian colonisation. This study describes the architectural, urban and socio-cultural aspects of this historical building in Tripoli city centre and also considers how powerful and actually ‘public’ and ‘civic’ this building was at the time of the research fieldwork under the Gaddafi regime in 2010. The results show that this historical Fascist-style building is still valued by the Libyan government and the public in Tripoli today. Even though the building is a place of power whose spaces do not meet the criteria of publicness identified in the literature of the public realm, it plays a significant civic role allowing citizens to encounter the regime and openly criticise their local government publically in a municipal environment.

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