Contemporary Contextualization: Using Cross-Cultural Practice in Sensitive Contexts


As a physical manifestation of political, social, and economic forces, architecture has been affected by globalization in the same ways as other fields. It has succumbed to thecriticismofthehomogenizationofitsproduct,andarchitectscontinuetosearchfor relevance in this new global context. However, as globalization matures in the twentyfirstcentury,sodoestheunderstandingoftheneedforculturalidentity.Asnewcomplex contexts arise, they require a sensitive understanding of the forces in play, in order to continue to create humanistic interventions in the built environment. While some may consider global practice a threat to local environments, given today’s complex conditions, the lines between local and global begin to blur together. Thus, it can be arguedthattrans-nationalpracticeenhancestheabilitytorespondsensitivelytointricate political, social, and urban contexts which are now more common than ever. Two Sino-French case studies are used here to demonstrate this phenomenon; one in China and one in France. Together they show how these forces manifest themselves throughthecross-culturalexchangethatisneededforfuturepractice.Astheprofession moves forward, one can consider that this international sensitivity will be increasingly employed to successfully engage and respond to complex local environments.

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