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Exploring Southeast Asian Architecture

Bookshelf - Main - ArchitectureArchitecture in Burma IconAngkor Temples IconRethinking Islamic Architecture IconThe Living House Icon Chinese Houses of Southeast AsiaChinese Houses of Southeast Asia: The Eclectic Architecture of Sojourners and Settlers
by Ronald G. Knapp, A. Chester Ong, Wang Gungwu
Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2010

The multiple Chinese migrations from southeastern China to Southeast Asia have had important implications for both regions. In Southeast Asia this influence can be seen in the architecturally eclectic homes these migrants and their descendants built as they became successful; homes that combined Chinese, European and local influences, especially during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia strives not only to be an informative but also an authoritative book on the subject of hybrid architecture—filled with stunning color photographs and essays on nearly thirty well-preserved homes.

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Rethinking Islamic Architecture
by Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
Published by Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, 2010

Rethinking Islamic ArchitectureRethinking Islamic Architecture is a rich contribution to scholarship on the architecture of Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia and Indonesia, from the perspective of an architect and historian grounded in the Sunnah. Through a measured critique of the complex and wide-ranging issues that beset this challenge – from the conventions of architectural historiography to the convenience of postmodern revivalism – Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi advocates a value-centred discourse on the architecture for Muslim communities which will be of significant interest to students, scholars and practitioners of Islamic architecture in the region. — K. A. R. Bartsch, University of Adelaide, Australia

Islamic architecture has never undergone a sustained period of self-criticism and creative renewal. Arguing in favour of a return to humility, humanism and the eternal values of Islam, the author shows a way out of the impasse in Islamic architecture by a close reading of the Islamic sources in tandem with a re-examination of the work of visionary Western modernists. Professor Tajuddin also restores the importance of appreciating the integrity and sustainable design and technologies of Southeast Asian Islamic architecture as well as such postcolonial designs such as the National Mosque, the brilliant use of vernacular design in the Amanah Saham Pahang mosques and an organic, community-centred Islamic mosque-complex in Kota Baru – all in Malaysia. Rethinking Islamic Architecture challenges clients, architects, student and the general reader alike to rethink their assumptions and practices, and open their minds to a wealth of less explored possibilities. This provocative yet accessible book should be read by anyone concerned about the need to restore sustainable human-centred design and shared value to contemporary cities.

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Angkor TemplesAngkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples
by Dawn Rooney and Norodom Sihamoni
Published by Airphoto International Ltd., 2011

The great legacy of the ancient Khmer civilization, the temples of Angkor cover an area well over 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) in northwest Cambodia. These monuments, built between the ninth and 15th centuries—the classic period of Khmer art—are unrivaled in architectural greatness. They are, undoubtedly, one of the wonders of the world, astounding in their splendor and evoking a real sense of awe. This beautifully illustrated book contains background information on Khmer history, religious beliefs and legends depicted on the bas-reliefs, as well as descriptions of architectural features. This detailed, monument-by-monument guide to the sites includes detailed maps and plans, plus information about temple complexes accessible by helicopter or four-wheel-drive vehicle.

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The Living House: An Anthropology of Architecture in South-East Asia
by Roxana Waterson
Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2010

The Living HouseThe Living House was the first book of its kind to present a detailed picture of the house within the social and symbolic worlds of Southeast Asian peoples. A pioneering title that has become a classic, this exemplary text draws on many sources of information, from architects and anthropologists, to the author’s own firsthand research.

As it probes into the centrally significant role of houses within Southeast Asian social systems, The Living House reveals new insights into kinship systems, gender symbolism and cosmological ideas, ultimately uncovering basic themes concerning the idea of life and life processes themselves. A vivid picture emerges of how people shape buildings and buildings shape people, as rules about layout and uses of space have an impact on social relationships. Although intended first and foremost as a work of anthropology, The Living House will also appeal to architects, scholars and the interested general reader.

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Architecture in BurmaArchitecture in Burma: Moments in Time
by Lorie Karnath
Published by Hatje Cantz, 2013

Architecturally, Burma is both a melting pot and a museum. Boasting a wealth of influences from all of the countries that surround it–India, China, Laos, Thailand, Bhutan, Laos–Burma has also preserved many key examples of religious architectural styles no longer extant in their countries of origin, most famously in Pagan, the country’s capital in the ninth to twelfth centuries. Alongside the pagodas of Pagan, Burma’s architectural jewel is probably the Shwe Dagon pagoda in Rangoon, a magnificent social hub in the city’s center that has also been the site of much political turmoil. During colonial rule, many extraordinary Victorian civic buildings were erected, especially in Rangoon and Mandalay; throughout the country, Buddhist monasteries and villages also offer many fascinating varieties of architecture. Despite a few recent instances of architectural modernization, Burma remains largely an open-air museum, whose buildings embody and chronicle centuries of dynastic squabble and migration of cultural influences. (Such quarrels frequently resulted in new rulers packing up entire palaces and other structures and transporting these by elephant to establish a new seat of government or capital elsewhere.)

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