Invasive Aesthetics: A Manifesto for Reviving Architectural Identity in Developing Nations

Dubai. © Daniel Cheong

We have entered an era of ‘modernization’, led by the Western world.  In our times of unprecedented demographic expansion, infrastructural development is racing to meet demand with supply. As architects and designers, we have been pressured to embrace consumerism. has been adopted as a solution to the problem.  Developing countries have equated economic prosperity and success to the adoption of ‘contemporary architecture’ in a bid to demonstrate leadership and innovation. And voila, we have a palette of sleek buildings to meet the population’s needs, as well as to “modernize” our landscape. Surely, mimicking the formula of technologically advanced countries will project us into the public eye.

Well it certainly does, but not necessarily in a positive way. It is creating a global architectural uniformity as designs promoted by Western ‘architectural gurus’ are being replicated around the world. We are neglecting vibrant contextual elements and hence constructing a generic world lacking humane facets of design.  Would it not be a tragedy if Paris, Venice and Barcelona all looked similar? Would we not mourn the vibrancy of Parisian streets around the Eiffel Tower, the romanticism of Venetian waters and the monumental Sagrada Familia that dominates the skies of Barcelona? Do we really want a world that is basically a mirror image of the US?

More after the break…

2 Houses in Mauritius / Rethink Studio

© Gordon Mackenzie- Kennedy

Architects: Rethink Studio
Location: , Mauritius
Client: Private
Project Team: Nitish Chummun, Michael Leclezio, Verity Nesbitt, Yannick Goldsmith
Engineers: Dawn Engineering Ltd.
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: House 01 aprox. 250 sqm, House 02 aprox. 200 sqm
Photographs: Gordon Mackenzie – Kennedy


The CG House / Rethink Studio

Courtesy of Rethink Studio

Architect: Rethink Studio
Location: ,
Project Team: Nitish Chummun, Michael Leclezio, Yannick Goldsmith
Engineers: Dawn Engineering Ltd.
Project Year: 2010
Project area: 190 sqm
Photographs: Gordon Mackenzie-Kennedy