Response paper 6





Response paper 6

In his article, Stephanus Schmitz tries to establish whether cultural identity within the discipline of architecture is simply a construction. The article applies architectural discourse and debates from the fields of sociology, cultural studies, geology and ethnology. The debate looks at the impact that globalization and the expansion of the global village are having on cultural identities within the context of architecture. The key impact that the article discusses is the effect that global trends have had on urban planning in different countries and cultures. Schmitz also looks into regionalism, as he analyzes the different positions that key scholars have taken up regarding the concept. One other discourse in which the article is involved is that of Cultural identity and urban planning in developing countries.

            One key issue that the article addressed is the paradigm shift in the perception of place and time within architecture. Foucault’s views were particularly interesting as he chose to view places and spaces on both a physical and a mental plane. By his view, cultural identities form through mental perceptions of where we would like to be rather than where we actually are. Another interesting perspective on space came from Marc Auge. Auge argued that, in modernism, space is continually lost and destroyed. His idea that there are non-places (places of transit, which are not really considered actual places) sounds absurd. While the argument makes some sense, even non-places should be considered places because essentially transit places are just as important as actual places.

            Schmitz also addresses the issue of urban planning. The idea of regionalism in today’s world appears to be off the mark. Apart from a few locations of cultural significance, the architecture in most countries and urban areas appears to be based on Western structural designs at the core. Major cities in the developing world such as Nairobi, Singapore, Lagos and Santiago appear to mirror the West more than the local cultures. This differs from William Curtis’ view that developing countries have a strong tendency to mirror their indigenous cultures in their architecture.


Herrle, P. & Schmitz, S. Constructing identity in contemporary architecture: Case studies from the South. Berlin: Lit. 2009. Print.

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