The Meaning of Regionalism in Architecture” Pietro Belluschi, Architectural Record, December 1955
“Identity Production in Postcolonial Indian Architecture: Recovering what We Never Had” by Vikram Prakash from Postcolonial Space(s) (1997)
“Cacophony: Gratification or Innovation” by Wong Chong Thai from Postcolonial Space(s)
Belluschi, writing in 1955, as the world continued to recover from WWII, and as the Korean War came to a stalemate, redefines regionalism. In this he is building on the exhibitions that Elizabeth Mock mounted at MOMA during the time Philip Johnson was sidelined as a result of his Nazi sympathies. Belluschi takes an internationalist perspective when he moves regionalism from its pre-war emphasis on folk construction traditions of Europe to former colonized locales. This lends legitimacy to emerging national struggles with post-war identities.
The other two essays, written in the mid-1990s, address the idea of identity and context in architecture and urbanism in very specific ways. These ways move far beyond the ideas of “regionalism” and situate ideas about architecture and space embedded in historical, social, cultural, economic and political circumstances. However, this week we are looking for a bridge between “The Other Tradition” of modernism and expanded views of the role both modernism and regionalism play in creating national identities in the Post War era. While it is counter-intuitive to use essays written in the 90s, these are important contributions to helping to frame the discussion.
1) Prakash, born in India and educated as an architect in the US, is now a Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington. He contextualizes and presents a project by Charles Correa–one of India’s great post-war architects. What does Prakash see as the three main motivators of the formal and spatial strategies of the building? How do these create “identity”? Is the building also an example of critical regionalism? Explain.
2) Wong addresses urban space more than architecture. He is also exploring the way that the “West” dominates and defines the discourse around architecture and urbanism. This is critical to understand as we look at conversations in architecture since WWII (and continuing still). What are the key aspects Wong identifies as “Western”? What are the key aspects he identifies as “Eastern”? How does he see the “West” dominating the discussion? Do you agree with him? Explain.
Citing sentences from reading to answer the question