Drifting - Architecture and Migrancy by Stephen Cairns

By Stephen Cairns

To live in those globalizing occasions calls for us to barter more and more palpable flows - of capital, principles, photographs, items, expertise, and other people. Such flows appear to pressurize, breach and infrequently even disaggregate the locations we continually alleged to be certain and reliable. This e-book is focussed at the interplay of 2 components inside of this modern scenario. the 1st is the very concept of a spot we think to be distinct and sturdy. this concept is explored via structure, the establishment that during the West has claimed the accountability for imagining and generating locations alongside those strains. the second one point is a selected form of international circulate, particularly the human flows of immigrants, refugees, exiles, guestworkers and different migrant teams. This e-book rigorously inspects the intersections among architectures of position and flows of migrancy. It does so with out trying to protect the assumption of position, nor lament its passing. relatively this e-book is an exploration of the customarily complicated and unorthodox modes of living which are rising accurately from in the ruins of the belief of position. This exploration is knowledgeable by means of serious analyses of structure and urbanism, and their illustration in media corresponding to movie. The e-book is lively empirically via a collection of overlapping and intersecting trajectories that shift from Hong Kong to Canada, Australia and Germany; from Southern Europe to Australia; from Britain to India, Canada and New Zealand; from Southeast Asia, to the Pacific Islands, to New Zealand; and from Latin the US and East Asia to the U.S.. yet every one geographical context mentioned represents just one element inside a much broader trend of circulate that implicates different localities, and so signs the very undoing of a unified geographical good judgment.

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Perhaps the most prominent example of such architectures is the Chinatown, with its restaurants, emporia, laundries, ancestor shrines, sweatshops and other associated architectural clichés (Lin 1998: ix) – so ubiquitous that they are now stock elements of any multiculturally inclined urban planning strategy and municipal tourist promotion campaign seeking to capitalize on local marks of distinction. Such architectures form the infrastructure of what sociologist Michel Laguerre (2000: 11) refers to as the contemporary ‘ethnopolis’.

By challenging the ongoing purchase of functionalism, and its allegiance to a broader anthropological undercurrent within architecture, the neo-rationalist stance uncoupled certain naturalized associations between specific ‘users’ and specific architectures. Such a displacement suggests that a neo-rationalist position has nothing ‘positive’ to offer a consideration of architecture and migrancy. Read in this way, we are urged to consider the ‘problem of migrancy’ to be a latter-day correlate of the ‘problem of housing’, that is, a tempting but ultimately mistaken concern for architectural practice.

In fact, state-sanctioned remittance schemes, by which departed workers send money back to their home villages or to the national government, often provide the financial basis for a range of less monumental architectural interventions in rural villages and towns, ranging from the improvement of water reticulation infrastructure, to the construction of vernacular architectures that, in turn, sustain romantic images of an ideal homeland condition for those at home and abroad. ARCHITECTURE-FOR-MIGRANTS Migrancy is a term that cannot help but carry with it connotations of traumatic displacement.

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