This introductory essay situates this special issue's concerns in the context of Indigenous cultural centre design in settler-colonial Australia. Given the very small number of Indigenous architects in Australia, architectural facilities for Indigenous communities are routinely designed by non-indigenous architects. The implications of this are significant. Given the often complex social, historical and political ambitions that are invested in the construction of Indigenous cultural centres, and their frequent intention to represent a broad Indigenous constituency, can non-indigenous architectural and spatial practice ever realize these? As a way into this question, the essay surveys postcolonial and architectural scholarship that explores the spatialization of setter-colonial politics and the distinct place-making traditions of Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The making of place in the Australian city is an ongoing force of conflict, assertion, exclusion and forgetting, but it is also central to the realization of a possible post-colonial state in which no one ‘centre’ can ever stabilize and resolve questions of legitimacy and power. Instead, such a centre might hold these questions in tension and as questions in common, which would mean a new foundation for the making of place.
Field of Research
120103 Architectural History and Theory 200206 Globalisation and Culture
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
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