In the Midst of the Revolution

The 'Rond-Point' as Media of Contention


  • Lutz Robbers




The purpose of this essay is to explore the political agency of the rond-point, an element of infrastructural design which, since the 1980s, has become a ubiquitous feature of urban planning across the French territoire. Doesn’t the fact that the gilets jaunesseem to choose the peripheral roundabouts as their preferred sites of political contestation – while ignoring the square in the town centre – attest to a proverbial political unconscious? What makes the centres of the roundabouts amidst the informal peri-urban space such attractive mediators for the political causes of the gilets jaunes? The fact that thousands of yellow vests perseveringly chose to assemble at or on roundabouts requires us to come up with alternative ways of thinking the spatial settings for the appearance, the representation and the practice of ‘the political’, the res publicaor public matter.


Architectural theory, political theory, contention, infrastructure

Author Biography

Lutz Robbers

Lutz Robbers holds a PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University. He has taught at the RWTH, Aachen, the Bauhaus University, Weimar, Columbia University and Princeton and has held research positions at the IKKM, Weimar, the London School of Economics’s ‘Cities Programme’ and the German Forum of Art History in Paris. He served as managing editor of the journal Candide – Journal for Architectural Knowledge.


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