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TRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW

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Volume 6.2

SQUATTER ARCHITECTURE? A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF VERNACULAR THEORY AND SPONTANEOUS SETTLEMENT WITH REFERENCE TO SOUTH AMERICA AND SOUTH AFRICA
Peter Kellett and Mark Napier
The tradition of study that has grown up around the investigation of spontaneous settlements in the past three decades has tended to emphasize the process which gives rise to informally produced housing rather than the built form of the housing itself.  As a result, only a partial understanding of such settlements has emerged because there has been a virtual absence of empirical data on “squatter” architecture.  Meanwhile, frameworks designed to facilitate a holistic understanding of vernacular environments have recently reached a stage of maturity which allows descriptions of sufficient complexity to handle the great variety of cases found within the definition of the vernacular.  Indeed, many descriptions of vernacular environments have the potential to include spontaneous settlement, and they hold the promise of affording a better understanding of these people-made places.  Given that the word “vernacular” commonly refers to a language or architecture which has local rather than foreign origins, it would seem wholly appropriate to apply the frameworks of vernacular architecture to spontaneous environments.  The aim of this paper is to suggest ways this might begin to be accomplished to gain a more comprehensive and balanced understanding of both the product and process dynamics of spontaneous settlements and of the people who create and inhabit them.

(Re)Presenting the Vernacular/(Re)Inventing Authenticity:
R
ESORT ARCHITECTURE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Hock-Beng Tan
The tremendous growth in economic development in the countries of Southeast Asia has resulted in a dramatic increase in intraregional travel.  As a result, tourist developments are being built at a tremendous speed and scale.  Such buildings are bringing into sharp focus the definitions of terms such as “tradition/al” and “modern/ity,” as well as redefining notions of “authenticity” within various cultural settings.  The paper explores tourists’ quest for authenticity by examining three sensitively designed resorts which use the vernacular to perpetuate an architectural language that assumes the status of authenticity through ensuring a perceived historical continuity.  The paper also argues that the concept of authenticity is one way of articulating the experience of modernity and postmodernity.  It proposes that authenticity can only be addressed by opening the references of figuration to the multiple imperatives of our contemporary culture.

THE COMMERCIAL CENTER OF THESSALONIKI, GREECE: ARCHITECTURAL FORMS AND SIGNIFICATIONS 1875-1930
Vassiliki G. Mangana
Various interpretive accounts of the nineteenth and early-twentieth-century history of eastern Mediterranean cities have viewed their spatial development as manifesting the prevalence of the overwhelming intellectual and political power of Western Europe over a politically and economically weakened East.  This view would seem to be supported by the involvement of European experts in the conception and implementation of urban and architectural projects in the area as well as the employment of purely Western principles and design language.  The case of Thessaloniki’s commercial center, however, offers a representative example of two essentially different processes of Westernization: one that was imposed, and proceeded by disregarding local cultural and architectural traditions; and another that was indigenously developed, and proceeded by including aspects of tradition within the requirements of modernization.  Guided by the underlying principle that architecture constitutes the material representation of the cultural and social context that produces it, this paper examines the spatial patterns and architectural character of the old and new sections of Thessaloniki’s financial/commercial center as expressions of the aforementioned types of Westernization.

THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE: ETHNIC IDENTITY AND BUILT FORM AMONG MEXICAN PUREPECHAS
Mari-Jose Amerlinck
This paper attempts to interpret current changes in built form among Mexican Purepechas by relating them to changes in the expression of ethnic identity, following Guillermo Bonfil’s proposal for studying the cultures of ethnic groups.  A consideration of how Purepecha ethnic identity is reflected not only in the dwelling but also in other characteristic Purepecha built forms and space usages shows that such changes in patterns of living occur at different rates.  These differential rates of change shed light on how changes may either be derived from the natural development of Purepecha building tradition or may be imposed from the outside by the larger social system.  The current trend for globalization has increased both internal and external pressures on groups such as the Purepechas to modernize.  However, the paper also draws attention to the fact that the loss of vernacular built environments may not be inevitable if outside interests can be made to respect a group’s power to control and decide their own cultural development.

NORMATIVE VALUES AND THEIR CULTURAL ROOTS IN A TRADITIONAL TURKISH HOUSE
Hulya Turgut
The great civil, architectural art that created the harmonious environment of the Turkish people of previous generations has today lost its functionality because of the lack of connection between the old and the new.  The “traditional Turkish house,” created by a vanished socio-cultural structure, has lost its validity, and the desire for Westernization has left Turkish architecture seeking formal copies of Western cultural products.  To bring Turkish architecture out of this impasse will be possible only if an effort is made to rediscover the content of Turkish culture and express it with contemporary language.  The aim of this paper is to analyze the cultural origins of the Turkish house and show its usage with contemporary design principles.  It begins by defining the cultural components that directly affect the formation of the spatial setting.  It then gives a brief introduction to the architecture of the traditional Turkish house.  Next, it analyzes normative-cultural values and their roots, using the traditional Turkish house as a case study.  This is followed by a study of normative values as they form principles of spatial setting in the contemporary Turkish house.  Finally, the paper builds on the findings of the case study to offer some proposals for design principles relating to the contemporary Turkish house.