The hybrid informal-vernacular structures of Chong Kneas are characterized by individual building forms that manifest distinct cultural and ethnic backgrounds and traditions while at the same time displaying certain similarities with the construction style of the urban informalities, such as the utilization of non-indigenous urban materials. To some degree, vernacular qualities are dependent on the maintenance of tradition which, in turn, has a strong dependency on economics, social organization and ideologies. For example, a subsistence economy is gradually being replaced by a merchant economy and, as a consequence, the organization of labour is changed. Building materials are purchased, rather than cut from the forest, and collective work on building construction is replaced by hired labour. On the other hand, there is a strong social organization in the village. Rules of kinship and ethnicity govern the layout of the dwellings and villages. Ideologies and belief systems are strongly based on the protective power of the spirits, which determines the entire conception of space, from the orientation to the density of the settlement. Regardless of the volatility of the economy of the region, the strength of social organization and ideologies has the momentum to keep traditions alive in the hybrid informalities of Chong Kneas.
The current study discusses the perpetually changing relationship between form and process development of the informalities of Chong Kneas and the merging design dialectics between vernacular and informal settlements. It further focuses on the contextual relations and the correlations between form and content through which a basic understanding of the role of the settlement in the cultural continuity of the inhabitants is understood.
|Keywords:||Vernacular Architecture, Informal Settlements|
Assitant Professor, Department of Interior Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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