Friday, 16 April 2021, 2 – 5 pm CEST (CET+1 / UCT+2)
Upon gaining independence in the mid-20th century, many cities in Southeast Asia also changed dramatically in terms of their physical appearance as well. The task of becoming an independent nation was accompanied by the desire for a symbolic new beginning in architecture and urban planning. International modernism not only offered an aesthetic programme that reflected expectations of progress and prosperity, but also served as a means of emancipation from the colonial powers.
While planners of the former colonial powers continued to work in these countries even after they became independent, young local architects, some of whom had trained in Europe, the United States, or the Soviet Union, began searching for an architectural style that, informed by their local climate and culture, would catalyse a new sense of identity. Some of these architects created informal networks that transcended national borders, and together looked for ideas to shape the city in the tropics. Furthermore, as part of the political reorientation process taking place in these young nations, new, transnational alliances emerged, and with them, new paths of knowledge and architecture transfer.
How did these international networks work? Who initiated them? Did conflicts arise during their collaboration, and if so, how were they handled? What were the geopolitical ambitions that motivated this engagement?