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Cntemporary Asian Societies - Essay Example

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Cntemporary Asian Societies

For a long tine, Asian countries isolated themselves from the rest of the world trying to keep untouched old traditions and values (Metcalf, pg 6). Thus, since the beginning of the XX century, they have experienced a strong influence on their cultural traditions and building practices. This influence had a negative impact on Asian societies spreading alien cultures and the building crafts (Hawkes, pg 9). The main issue against modern building practices is that Asian societies developed unique building traditions and distinct practices which comply with their needs and regional differences.
Asian societies should stick to their own building traditions because they reflect cultural uniqueness and religious beliefs followed by generations. Hinduism, Aryans, Dravidians, Islamic, Christian, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism developed building styles which reflect their unique and distinct beliefs and values. For instance, the earliest surviving monuments of architecture date from the tenth century. Perhaps the first shrine is the Nat Hlaung Gyaung at Pagn, a temple traditionally dated in 931 and one of the few Hindu monuments in the history of Burmese architecture. Even this structure has certain characteristics of Burmese architecture of all periods (Metcalf, pg 23). ...
Other temples of this early period at Pagan, such as the Ngakye Nadaun of the tenth century, recall the form of Gupta stupas, such as the Dhamekh stupa at Sarnath (Metcalf, pg 23). Just as these buildings, for all their elaborateness, are the ultimate descendants of old Indian architecture, the typically Burmese technique of lacquer decoration goes back at least to the period of florescence at Pagn in the thirteenth century (Lim, Beng, pg 68). These building have survived for over a thousand years while modern buildings survive only for 80 years.
Old building traditions meet geographical peculiarities and climate diversity of Asian societies. All of building traditions meant planning, planning for communities, planning which should take into account architectural amenity as well as practical utility; and every single example of these planned communities like the ample and attractive housing built in numerous Asians cultural centers reflect old styles and geographical peculiarities (Goad et al ph65). Following Hawkes (1996) modern construction and building practices allow only the passive control of climate through built form (pg 34). In contrast, old building traditions (as shading and wind-channelling devices) are quite effective, mitigating solar gain at the hottest times of the day and encouraging useful cross-ventilation (Hawkes pg 45). What is more, they frame and direct views of the surroundings and give depth and relief to the facades. Upon entering the old building, the reticence of the facades gives way to a top-lit, daylight filled entrance court, the first of two such courts. But in old buildings the means of environmental control is clear and the legible (Frampton, pg 14).
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Summary

Asian societies should stick to their own building traditions because they reflect their cultural heritage and religion. Following Pallasmaa (1996) "Architecture gives a material structure to societal institutions and to daily life, reifying the course of the sun and the cycle of the hours of the day" (pg 6)…
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