“NOW THE BAOBAB SHINES!” - CULTURAL LOCALITY INTERFACING WITH INTERDISCIPLINARY PEDAGOGIES IN ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

Understanding cultural differences and their relations is necessary in a world marked by the complex discrepancies between various cultural interpretations. As our indigenous culture largely determines the way we see the world, it is only through a conscious decision that we are able to find mutual understanding and a common ground in our search for sustainable solutions to contemporary global challenges. This thesis discusses global sustainability, cultural locality and humanitarian crises in the framework of architectural design practice and interdisciplinary pedagogies fundamental to integrating the framework into architectural education. It positions the discussion in the context of higher education and explores transdisciplinary and socio-cultural dimensions of architecture and their societal impacts. The overarching research question covering the main themes of the thesis is: What happens in the interface of architecture, cultures and disciplines from the point of view of university pedagogy? The aim of this research is to develop a pedagogical framework for interdisciplinary architectural education that would respond to global humanitarian challenges in a variety of cultural contexts. The dissertation is a monograph written in English. The first part of the research discusses the thematic areas of cultural locality and humanitarian challenges in the framework of architectural practice and presents an ethnographic analysis of data collected from the fieldwork carried out during architectural design projects in low-resource communities in the African context. The research questions framing these discussions are: ‘What is the role of architecture and architects in the context of global humanitarian challenges’? and ‘What are the cultural features one needs to acknowledge when working in a cultural context other than one’s own?’ The readingof the data initiates a hermeneutic circle, revealing cultural aspects, common denominators and relations that determine spatial arrangements and the ways we as humans conceptualise and inhabit space in different cultural contexts, as well as cultural features affecting the design profession and building processes. The main categories identified are related to a) context, b) culture,c) knowledge and technology and d) society. Secondly, this dissertation scrutinises interdisciplinary higher education in architecture, and discusses the various pedagogical developments that encourage the accumulation of cultural understanding and the societal development of low-resource communities in an interdisciplinary university context. The thematic research questions are: ‘What kind of pedagogical frameworks are applicable for interdisciplinary architectural education?’ and ‘What kind of pedagogical developments encourage the accumulation of knowledge of cultural locality in a university context?’ The realities described in this book are rooted in real life experiences, tested in the field and discussed in the context of education. The connections of cultural localities in architecture and interdisciplinary university pedagogy become tangible in course planning, studio teaching and in the forging of university programmes that aim at creating connections and entry points between disciplines. Amidst the supercomplexities of our realities, we cannot but accept that this discussion is necessarily open-ended and avoids enclosed definitions; other discussions, dimensions and emerging interpretations are – and should – always be present and possible.
Translated title of the contribution“NOW THE BAOBAB SHINES!” - CULTURAL LOCALITY INTERFACING WITH INTERDISCIPLINARY PEDAGOGIES IN ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Joutsiniemi, Anssi, Supervising Professor
  • Rose, Christopher, Thesis Advisor
  • Korvenmaa, Pekka, Thesis Advisor
  • Joutsiniemi, Anssi, Thesis Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-64-0101-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-0102-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Keywords

  • cultural locality
  • complexity
  • globalisation
  • critical regionalism
  • cross-cultural design practices
  • architecture
  • architect’s role
  • architectural pedagogy
  • interdisciplinarity
  • higher education

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