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Tradition as past is a modernist idea

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conference contribution
posted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by D Beynon
As outlined in the theme of this conference, the problematisation of the notion of 'progress' relates to a questioning of the West's teleological aspirations for the future. This critique has allowed for the presence of a multiplicity of ways of perceiving the world, including those from outside the West's intellectual tradition. However, within architectural discourse, conceptual plurality has been largely limited to movements such as critical regionalism or postmodernism, which have tended to question the direction or desirability of progress, rather than its fundamental nature.

This paper looks at an example of recent architecture by an Asian diasporic community in Melbourne. This is a building that appears to be 'traditional' in style, in other words atavistic and antithetical to 'progressive' architectural ideals. However, looking at it through different philosophical understandings of duration can provide us with alternative interpretations to these assumptions.

By this I am not referring to disillusionment with progress, as expressed through postmodernist and neo-traditionalist movements in the West, but ways in which looking at the 'traditional' architectures of non-Western cultures from their own philosophical positions might provide alternative definitions pf the idea of 'progress'. The increasing presence of non-western 'traditional' architecture in the West implies that West modernity might not be the only 'tradition' that has a viable future. Consequently, the idea of 'the future' as something to aspire to, might be the outcome of a particular dominant historicity rather than a universal condition.

History

Title of proceedings

20th annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand.

Event

Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Conference (20th : 2003 : Sydney, N.S.W.)

Pagination

27 - 31

Publisher

Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand

Location

Sydney, Australia

Place of publication

Sydney, N.S.W.

Start date

2003-10-02

End date

2003-10-05

ISBN-13

9781864875744

ISBN-10

1864875747

Language

eng

Notes

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Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2003, Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand

Editor/Contributor(s)

M Gusheh, N Stead

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