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Volume 19.2


Global Tourism, Hyper-Traditions, and the Fractal Condition of the Sign

Since the early 1990s the tourism industry in Egypt has opened a new geographic territory in the Red Sea region for investment.  In new commodified spaces there it has remained preoccupied with providing an exotic, “authentic,” cultural experience for international tourists, similar to that they have long desired from trips along the Nile.  In this essay I will discuss how the developers and designers of Kafr al-Gouna, part of al-Gouna integrated town-resort, have used architectural forms to reinvent heritage in this new location in order to simulate an authentic experience for tourists.  Through discussion of this case I want to, first, problematize the concepts of authenticity and tradition as they are practiced and theorized, and, second, shed light on a specific urban strategy used to produce tourist spaces in today’s Egypt.

Reconstituting Hmong Culture and Traditions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The experience of refugee populations, driven from their homes and into foreign lands, represents a force of globalization that is prompting both spatial and cultural transformation.  For refugees, however, attempts to reconstitute and re-embed culture and traditions in new environments provide an important way to arrest cultural stress.  Using Amos Rapoport’s culture-core model, this article analyzes efforts by Hmong immigrants to reterritorialize their culture and traditions in Milwaukee’s inner city.  It also points out how Milwaukee’s decayed urban fabric, layered by historical cycles of progress and decline, provides an example of how landscapes may offer a “loose fit,” supporting various modes of inhabitation by different cultural groups.

New Silicon Valleys: Tradition, Globalization, and Information-Technology Development in Bangalore, India

This article argues that information- and communications-technology (ICT) office parks, with Silicon Valley, California as their referent, constitute a new transnational tradition.  The article begins by explicating the Silicon Valley tradition.  It then examines the Bangalore, India, campus of Infosys, and its invocation of this tradition.  The article argues that the Silicon Valley tradition constructs the ICT worker as a member of a global workforce by physically marking the landscape of cities around the world with cues to appropriate modes of behavior.  In conclusion, it proposes that transnational traditions may be reterritorialized and eventually handed down to future generations.

Exploring a Cross-Cultural Theory of Architecture

This article contributes to the development of a theoretical framework to address and explain all human behavior toward or linked with buildings, dwellings and settlements, in terms of both creating and using such environments.  In promoting such a project is not our aim to demote Western architecture or elevate indigenous architecture, but to seek a theory that can be objectively applied to understanding interactions between the architectural values and building traditions of different cultures.  Such a unifying theory of architecture must initially treat all forms of building as having intrinsic value within their own cultural contexts, without unreasonably biasing one form over another.

Wireless Sites: Architecture in the Space of British Radio, 1927-1945

Between 1927 and 1945 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired an average of two radio programs a month on architecture.  This article explores the effect of these simulated wireless sites on a traditional mode of knowledge like architecture.  What happened when architecture, framed within the institutional vision of the BBC, encountered the specific mode of production, reproduction and diffusion of the radio?  I argue that early radio in Britain was not just another medium of representation, but one of simulation, which reinvented the social identity of architecture.  This historical account of wireless sites enables us to rethink the perceptual category we call “tradition.”