logo.jpg (12379 bytes)

TRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW

IASTE Home

People
Staff
Advisory Board

Conferences
2008 Conference
Past Conferences

Publications
TDSR
Working Paper Series
Books
Outreach Videos

Ordering Information

Links To Related Organizations

Search

Back issues can be ordered for $22.50

Volume 8.2

TWO MISSIONS: CASE STUDIES IN THE MEANING OF TRADITION IN CONTEMPORARY DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
Derek Japha and Vivienne Japha
This paper presents case studies of two mission settlements to examine different aspects of the prospects for traditional environments in contemporary South Africa and their uses in contemporary development.  The paper is divided into two main sections and a conclusion, each section dealing with one of the case studies.  These studies begin with a description of the history of each mission, illustrating each as a “traditional” vernacular landscape.  The changing meanings of “tradition” arising from this history are then addressed, and the different role and significance of “tradition” in the likely trajectory of contemporary development that can be expected in each case is discussed.

HOUSE ARCHITECTURE AND FAMILY FORM: THE ORIGIN OF VERNACULAR TRADITIONS IN EARLY MODERN JAPAN
Laurel L. Cornell
The “traditional Japanese house” is often thought of as a light, airy structure, built of wood, with sliding paper walls (fusuma), translucent paper windows (shoji), straw-matted floors (tatami), and an elaborated display alcove (tokonoma).  This paper argues that such a building is no more characteristic of peasant life in early modern Japan than is the “traditional Japanese family.”  Both are creations which came into existence during the early modern period (1600-1868), but which only reached their fullest realization at the beginning of this century.  This paper uses a variety of sources, including maps and housing surveys, to trace the intertwined emergence of these two forms.

SOVIET ORIENTALISM: SOCIALIST REALISM AND BUILT TRADITION
Greg Castillo
The cultural practices of the Soviet Union in consolidating its eastern empire after the 1917 revolution bear a striking, yet largely unexplored, resemblance to practices that have been well documented in the West as colonialist and Orientalist.  Under an imperative to remake “backward” societies in the image of socialism, cultural authorities monumentalized the forms of vernacular design to symbolize the regional identity of peoples, at the same time they were eliminating the social and political strikers that underpinned vernacular traditions.  The paper studies these practices both in the construction of high-profile individual buildings and in terms of a more general attack on regional urban forms.  The calculated use of regional folk tradition largely disappeared in the years after Stalin’s death.  But modern variants have reemerged since the late 1960s in ways that border on kitsch.

TRADITIONAL ENVIRONMENTS AND THE NEW URBANISM: A REGIONAL AND HISTORICAL CRITIQUE
Nina Veregge
This paper uses an analysis of the public/private interface in towns in Sonora, Mexico during the late-colonial and Porfirian eras to examine New Urbanism’s use of traditional environments as design precedent for public space.  It begins by exposing the cultural and historical limitations of New Urbanism’s “traditional American town” and asserting that understanding the historical conditions and regional particularity of social production of the built environment is requisite to an informed use of historical precedent in design.  Following an outline of the historical context for urban transformations in the Mexican Northwest, and an introduction to the methods used, an analysis of changes in the public/private interface in the towns of Alamos and Hermosillo is presented.  The concluding discussion summarizes the argument that a regional “new” urbanism of the Greater Southwest must be accountable to the region’s social history.

SUAKIN: ON REVIVING AN ANCIENT RED SEA PORT CITY
Abdel Rahim Salim
The island town of Suakin served as a gateway for trade and culture on the East African coast of the Red Sea for centuries.  After a new harbor, Port Sudan, was built nearby in 1905-1909, however, the town was largely abandoned.  Since that time attempts to save its architectural relics have alternated with periods of resignation that these treasures would be left to deteriorate.  Over the years a lack of funds and legal obstacles have largely prevented the implementation of preservation and reconstruction proposals.  This paper describes a new proposal, with a different approach and strategy, aimed at overcoming these recurrent obstacles.  Suakin can still be revived despite the already-great extent of its decay.