A Source for Regenerating Post-Colonial Spatial Identity

By Ching-Pin Tseng.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In most of post-colonial countries, the reconstruction of identity has been considered as an important issue, since colonisation and cultural globalisation have created a unitary communication means and homogeneous architectural spaces, and have resulted in local and indigenous cultures and memories were concealed or destroyed. In terms of the regeneration of local spatial identity, it is necessary to ask what ‘sources’ may inspire architectural designers in the idea incubation stage for the design of spatial narrative. Moreover, in relation to the relationship between literary narrative and architecture Bernard Tschumi states that ‘the unfolding of events in a literary context inevitably suggests parallels to the unfolding of events in architecture.’ Accordingly, this paper intends to discuss the potential of drawing out post-colonial spatial identity from textual narratives on the basis of the hypothesis that textual narrative is another source for the creation of spatial narrative.
Post-colonial narratives have been used to express local and heterogeneous viewpoints and the experiences of being colonised. Jean-pierre Durix mentions that ‘when it is practiced by writers from formerly colonised countries, multiculturalism asserts a model of national identity different from that imposed by the “dominant culture”.’ From this standpoint, post-colonial narratives function as the sources for articulating hybrid identity on the one hand, and the confrontation between local people and the former dominant authority on the other. This approach suggests the possibility of creative identity and its reflection on the changing architectural environments. Accordingly, the novel ‘Rose Rose I love you’ by Taiwanese writer Wang, Chen-ho and the novel ‘Sozaboy’ by Nigerian writer Ken, Saro-wiwa will be discussed, to explore the potential of extending spatial identities from them.
In investigating the means of drawing out spatial identity embedded in narratives, it is essential to discuss how the context of textual narrative could inspire the design of narrative devices. This paper will study the sequences and spatial metaphor in the events of narratives through a series of plot analysis and notation drawings. From the viewpoint of multiple design means, this paper will finally discuss the spatial identities revealing from narrative devices, and their potential inspirations to the creativity of architectural design.

Keywords: Narrative Devices, Local Spatial Identity, Hybrid Identity, Spatial Metaphor

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.73-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.527MB).

Dr. Ching-Pin Tseng

Lecturer, Shu-Te University, Taiwan, PhD Candidate, School of Arts Culture & Environment, Shu-Te University, Taiwan

Ching-Pin Tseng is a practical architectural designer, a curator for art exhibitions and a full-time lecturer at Shu-Te University, Taiwan since 1999. He graduated from Architectural Association, London with a Postgraduate Diploma, in 1996. Currently, he is undertaking his PhD study at the University of Edinburgh with the scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan. Tseng’s thesis title is ‘Drawing out Narrative into Architecture’, which focuses on extending spatiality from textual narratives and how that applies to the construction of spatial narrative. He is interested in investigating post-colonial narratives and the spatial identity in local area.


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