The Newsletter 57 Summer 2011

Constructing cultural heritage

Sarah Moser

In the decade since the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis, many regions of Southeast Asia have experienced a building boom in which new suburbs, skyscrapers, ‘creative’ districts, high-tech zones, and even entire new cities have sprung up. While the recent construction boom has produced architecture and urbanism that can be characterised as ‘global’, ‘modern’ and ‘placeless’, a growing number of these projects have attempted to express a sense of cultural heritage through the integration of indigenous cultural motifs and elements of vernacular architectural forms. Several new cities under construction in Indonesia and Malaysia exemplify recent attempts to strategically revive interpretations of local cultural heritage in a distinctly post-modern, city-centric idiom.

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