Land, symbiosis & cultural identity : curating a collective narrative in Fiji
View fulltext online
Citation:Kumar, A. (2019). Land, symbiosis & cultural identity : curating a collective narrative in Fiji. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4871
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4871
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can the cultural identity of Fiji be narrated through architectural intervention? ABSTRACT: The Pacific Region is facing several inevitable challenges; the degradation of ecosystems, the need to generate livelihoods, and impending climate change. Although the inhabitants of Fiji have evolved from diverse social structures, they hold a collective view of the land as their lifeblood, illustrated in the old proverb Ne qua Vanua (the land that supports me and to which I belong). The indigenous Fijian views on land are interrelated with physical, social and cultural dimensions. However, globalisation has minimalised indigenous knowledge. Cultural assimilation and convergence have created a stark disconnection with the landscape. This research project questions how cultural identity can be narrated through architectural intervention. This research proposes land and culture as the loci of cultural identity, vital to a group’s survival. The project uses Fiji as a backdrop and aims to create a narrative of co-existence as the nation has faced decades of the socio-economic and political divide. The purpose of this project is to devise an architectural methodology for a dynamic cultural exchange. The intervention will be a cultural centre complex in Nadi that encourages the mediation between land, people and spirit. The project uses an indigenous lens to reinforce one’s own culture and reconcile the cultural landscape. Anthropologist Asesela Ravuvu provides a scholarly insight into the indigenous lens of Vanua. However, traditional knowledge is interpreted through further theoretical constructs on cultural negotiation due to the heterogeneity of Fiji. Kisho Kurokawa and Homi B. Bhabha provide design methodology for cultural exchange, advocating for ambiguity and dynamic pluralism. Further precedent analysis delivered a framework to establish design methodology for this project; softening the boundary. Findings from this research paper emphasises Findings from this research paper emphasises the need for the international architecture community to provide visibility for indigenous culture to protect the diversity of knowledge.