The “Glocal” Dynamics of Construction Labor and Digital Architecture: Preston Scott Cohen’s Addition to the Tel Aviv Museum as Case Study


Globalization and technological change are transforming the ways in which buildings are being designed and built. An overlooked aspect of this development is its impact on construction labor, and the significance of labor for assessing the work of architecture. The paper draws upon the sociological concept of the “glocal” to analyse the construction site as the product of the tension between global and local conditions of architectural production and consumption. The construction of Preston Scott Cohen’s 2010 Tel Aviv Museum Addition serves as its case study for theorizing the “glocal” dynamics of digital architecture, building technology and construction labor. This methodological approach highlights the role of migrant guest workers and technological transfer in contemporary construction culture. To realize with precision the complex design under local constraints, the contractor developed a hybrid work process that interspersed labor saving automated manufacturing techniques with artisanal, skilled construction work. In addition, workers and contractors exercised a high level of control over the pace and method of construction, and devised building solutions which improved upon the architect’s design. In conclusion, the paper argues that construction activity differs from broader trends in manufacturing due to the self-reflexivity of architectural design to its condition of production, but that at the same time, this critical capacity is enabled by the globalization of construction labor.

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Kozlovsky, R. (2015) The “Glocal” Dynamics of Construction Labor and Digital Architecture: Preston Scott Cohen’s Addition to the Tel Aviv Museum as Case Study. Journal of Building Construction and Planning Research, 3, 82-94. doi: 10.4236/jbcpr.2015.32009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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