The second of two 2018-19 L.T. Shanks Travel Scholarship Lectures will feature CPP/ARC student Kleon Tran, who will present his travel and research findings about how New Zealand's geographic isolation has produced "a distinct cultural condition."
The two Shanks awardees, Tran and Franco Mellone, provided student lectures that are enfolded into the department's 2018-19 Bernard Zimmerman Lecture Series.
Read on to get a sense of Tran's observations for a preview of his lecture:
In literature, art, and design practice, this isolation is shown in themes of improvisation, of making-do, and of being subject to constantly changing environments. This attention to ephemerality and change also connects to tangata whenus perspectives or MÄori concepts of place, which stand strongly at odds with the idea of conquering or dominating nature. In the context of architecture, these dual factors have bred a cultural myth visualized as an image of architecture standing alone against a sublime landscape.
New Zealand has enthusiastically adopted the detached experience of suburbia, and its architecture is tailored to the country’s context and culture, creating a filtered, displaced timeline in its development relative to the influences of the rest of the world. For these reasons, design approaches that accommodate variability, change, and responsiveness can be seen as particularly culturally apt and remain as themes present in New Zealand’s architectural discourse. New Zealand has mostly remained in obscurity and is largely overlooked in the gaze of global architectural recognition. This isolation has had the benefit of making New Zealand’s architecture a frontier for exploration, creatively and technologically.