Translation of aid houses in Tonga

'Ilaui Talei, Charmaine (2014). Translation of aid houses in Tonga. In: Christoph Schnoor, Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 31, Translation. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, (105-118). 2-5 July 2014.

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Author 'Ilaui Talei, Charmaine
Title of paper Translation of aid houses in Tonga
Conference name Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference
Conference location Auckland, New Zealand
Conference dates 2-5 July 2014
Proceedings title Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 31, Translation
Place of Publication Gold Coast, Australia
Publisher SAHANZ and Unitec Press
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9780987605511
Editor Christoph Schnoor
Volume 31
Start page 105
End page 118
Total pages 14
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This paper presents two house case studies from recent fieldwork in Tonga, which describes aid houses translated to Fangale’ounga village in Ha’apai group during the early 1980s. Following these case studies, the paper expands on the disaster and post events during funding and housing assistance identifying the key agents of each case study, namely international governments working with Tonga’s Ministry of Works; and secondly the Ecumenical Centre in Tonga. The paper then analyses the resulting domestic architecture. 

These architectural translations highlight the effects of natural disaster construction technology, imported building materials and reorganisation of living on Fangale’ounga’s housing stock from the 1980s onwards. Whilst participants’ ideas of planning and structural design have been affected by such aid translations, they have also been architectural lessons as participants now opt for more durable housing materials than what was used on the original aid house. 

A demise of aid houses is the quick replacement of earlier technologies and local sustainable building materials rather than a negotiation with such local traditions. Arguably, aid houses have quickened the inevitable process of architectural change in a globalising Tonga. One of the case study houses, owned by Sioeli Vatu Kalu exemplifies this situation. It was  assisted by international and local governments and explains common problems of additions to the original aid house. However another type of translation is an aid house owned by Kaho  Taufa, which was built in the shape of the oval plan fale Tonga with round roof and utilises a combination of local coconut wood and imported materials and technology. Together they highlight the range of architectural and material  translations of 1980s aid houses in Fangale’ounga, raising pertinent issues relevant to other parts of the Pacific, where such translations have propelled a change in building design, technology and materials.  
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Created: Mon, 23 Mar 2015, 12:17:44 EST by Mrs Erin Lewis on behalf of School of Architecture