Masters by Design Research: Celebrating Aboriginality through the Incidental
In recent years, a common question encountered in both academic and architectural practice circles that has provoked the research underlying this paper, is ‘what is Aboriginal architecture’? In order to answer this question the author has addressed, deconstructed and reassembled it in order to find that it only amounts to a less interesting question about architectural labeling. In the author’s opinion, the more significant and productive question is ‘what is the relationship between Aboriginality and architecture today?’
Aboriginality is a regionally specific cultural construct historically seeded in an expansive natural landscape. In contrast, architecture, as it arrived from Europe, was essentially a container for ritual, meaning and function that could be supplanted to underpin antipodean territorial claims. An inevitable syncretic relationship formed remaining relatively stagnate during the first 200 years of colonization … until now.
Today, architects are generating architecture attempting to redress this relationship with varying results. This paper draws upon the author’s previous research and case studies to propose a concluding offering, the idea and search for ‘happening’ spaces (those culturally specific moments occurring outside the boundaries of the pragmatic brief) that allow a deeper reading of this relationship. This paper particularly discusses the realization of these spatial opportunities as liminal experiences that can indicate a truer celebration (or denial) of Aboriginality and more importantly, the potency of the seemingly incidental.