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The subject offers an overview of the issues facing design professionals in Asia from the mid- to late twentieth century when modernism had the greatest impact. Asian cities and lifestyles were transformed by design cultures of western origin, and architects became mediators of aesthetic influences, which they encouraged, adapted or resisted to varying degrees. In doing so, they engaged with questions of related to urbanisation and cultural change such as tradition, colonisation, nationalism, contested or dissonant heritage, war memory, and environmental consciousness that most impacted their societies. They responded through architecture to key concerns of their time.
Focusing on the lives and careers of the first generation of modern practitioners in South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, this subject provides a critical historical understanding of their design foci and inspirations, many of which continue to be relevant for architecture, urban design and planning and heritage practice. Students are asked to follow individual careers as they evolved in response to political and cultural changes such as decolonisation, nation building, consumerism and multiculturalism, and associated conflicts. How did design professionals like, architects, planners and urban and landscape designers negotiate their westernised professional education, the demands of specific localities, the pressure to maintain traditional forms of cultural heritage and their more personal approaches and perspectives? How did they apply visual, textual and pedagogical methods in disseminating their world views? What can we learn from their design strategies?
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of the subject, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of key issues that impact the built environment in the Asian region.
- Examine how selected design professionals develop approaches that engage with regional specificity.
- Analyse how design practice is translated across cultures and over time .
- Reflect on key factors that shape professional design careers in Asia, and its application for their own future practice
- Reading comprehension of conceptually complex material on heterogeneous environments
- Descriptive, interpretive and analytical academic writing, including referencing
- Creative structuring of research content using case study methods
- oral and visual presentation skills
Last updated: 31 January 2024