Processes of modern vernacular architecture in Aboriginal Australia

Memmott, P. (2012). Processes of modern vernacular architecture in Aboriginal Australia. In: Hifsiye Pulhan, Proceedings of the 6th International Seminar of Vernacular Settlements -ISVS, Contemporary Vernacular: Places, Processes and Manifestations. The 6th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements - ISVS, Farmagusta, Cyprus, (29-40). 19-21 April 2012.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Memmott, P.
Title of paper Processes of modern vernacular architecture in Aboriginal Australia
Conference name The 6th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements - ISVS
Conference location Farmagusta, Cyprus
Conference dates 19-21 April 2012
Convener Housing Education Research and Advisory Center (HERA-C), Faculty of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazimagusa, North
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 6th International Seminar of Vernacular Settlements -ISVS, Contemporary Vernacular: Places, Processes and Manifestations
Publisher Eastern Mediterranean University Press
Publication Year 2012
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9789758401826
Editor Hifsiye Pulhan
Start page 29
End page 40
Total pages 12
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This paper presents a case study from modern Aboriginal Australia, that of the ‘Dugalunji Camp’ of the Indjilandji tribal group in the arid zone interior of the continent. A brief overview is presented of traditional arid zone vernacular architecture styles including grass-thatched domes and the socio-spatial layouts of seasonal and intermittent camps. The case study will be contextualised in its historical, political and socio-economic fields including why the hegemonic colonial policies of cultural change did not successfully eliminate much of the customary behaviours and knowledge of this Aboriginal group. Some traditional design principles and elements underlying the contemporary Dugalunji Camp are thus explained. Today, the Dugalunji Camp is a sedentary village for a core group of Aboriginal ‘traditional owners’ albeit with a seasonal work population and with a total maximum accommodated population of 80 persons. It is a residential base from which regional enterprise services are provided as well as conducting pre-vocational training for young Aboriginal adults. The Camp’s architecture involves a combination of Aboriginal sociospatial principles, culturally-distinct behaviour setting design, pre-fabricated industrialized buildings, overlaid with adapted Aboriginal vernacular architecture, all set within a totemic cultural landscape. In the Dugalunji Camp, architecture is but one part of a holistic cultural philosophy that dictates the design, management and everyday behavioural rules. This aspect of analysis follows from Bourdieu by incorporating understandings of both production and consumption processes, which in this case are closely intertwined in the encoding and decoding of meanings and tend towards congruency when encoders and decoders subscribe to similar socio-economic values. The theoretical focus for the paper draws from previous work by the author and his colleagues on the need for a unifying cross-cultural theory of architecture for all human building and place-making activity. I employ a theoretical frame that emphasises:- (i) The architect-builder distinction and the significance of where authority lies in building and design decisions; (ii) behaviour settings theory and the idea of such settings as constituting architecture; (iii) meanings in buildings and environments and the subsequent role of meaning as a property of architecture; and (iv) the change of architectural traditions and their time properties. The overall aim of the paper is to explore how this broad inclusive definition of ‘architecture’ can have a strong and useful explanatory capacity in analyzing such hybrid built environment case studies with indigenous (or vernacular) components, but which lie well to the periphery (or outside) of the western canonical practice of ‘Architecture’.
Subjects 310000 Architecture, Urban Environment and Building
Keyword Australian Aboriginal culture
Cross-cultural architecture theory
Vernacular architecture
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 10 Apr 2013, 12:20:43 EST by Ms Shelley Templeman on behalf of School of Architecture