2002, English, Thesis edition: Hybrid representations : the public architecture of migrant communities in Melbourne Beynon, David

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Physical Description
  • thesis(phd)
Published
  • 2002
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • Hybrid representations : the public architecture of migrant communities in Melbourne
Author
  • Beynon, David
Published
  • 2002
Physical Description
  • thesis(phd)
Subjects
Summary
  • Given the extent to which cultural diversity is intrinsic to Melbourne's self image, it is surprising that a glance through architectural publications reveals a general absence of architecture for or by the city's increasing population of non-Western origins. However, a trip through suburban Melbourne reveals substantial areas of the city are being physically transformed by the architectural interventions of a multiplicity of cultures, as different communities adapt and construct their own public buildings. A clue to the lack of interest lies in the architectural character of these buildings. They often appear traditional, even hyper-traditional, in expression. The traditions alluded to are also ones unfamiliar to the. Western-oriented eye. Consequently they lie outside Western preconceptions of architectural development. I would suggest that the emergence of their forms in the contemporary Australian city confounds conventional notions of what constitutes 'Australian architecture'. To investigate this suggestion, the buildings of Melbourne's non-Western immigrants are critically evaluated within the theoretical frameworks of multiculturalism, diasporic cultures and postcolonialism. Their architecture has a hybrid character, the precedents for their form and detail being inflected and translated through migrancy and settlement. At the same time, they help to create a new sense of place for their disparate communities. In doing so, they are forming the framework for new layers of Melbourne, and so their establishment problematises conventional perceptions of Australian multiculturalism and national identity. The critical evaluation of such non-Western building in Australia also complicates the epistemological boundaries of western-dominated architectural discourse. The increasing presence of these buildings suggests that it cannot be assumed that all paths lead to Western modernity. It is argued that the architecture of such buildings embodies orientations that are not easily assimilated into the dominant taste-culture, and so have a certain resistance to the commodification that seems to befall architectural avant-gardes. These buildings could be described as harbingers of a 'postwestern' culture for Australia, signalling that the architectural cultures of the non-West are not simply reducible to the dead-end lower branches of Bannister Fletcher's famously Eurocentric tree of architectural history. They instead herald a possible shifting of the West from the position of centrality that it has taken for granted since the days of conquest and colonialism, and open up new possibilities for cultural entanglement and multiplicity.
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Language
  • English
Identifier
  • oai:minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au:11343/​114745

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