Architecture and identity : the perception and reflection of identity through architectural expression : a case study of Wentworth.
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South Africa like many countries in the non-Western world has a long history of conflict stemming back to the spread of Colonialism. Various events through the years have contributed to the solidification of European and Western dominance over all that is "African". However the move to the new South Africa has facilitated renewed interaction and understanding through the celebration of peoples' differences. Differences which although unique have also contributed to the confused state of identity that exists. Current debate in South Africa centers greatly on the issue of "South African Identity", its existence, how it is created, and what constitutes it. South Africa's transition to the new democratic order has brought with it major shifts in the order and nature of peoples' identities as well as a "new" language that represents the collective identity of the society. This study focuses on the role of identity in architecture and examines the transformation and development of South African architectural expression and reflection as seen through the window of identity. r The study seeks to question how the built environment can begin to resp---o--nd to and reflect the concerns and aspirations of its inhabitants and also highlights the existence of the mutually constitutive link between identity, space and the built form. Key principles are set out in the study and are further examined through the critical analysis of both local and international precedents that serve to highlight the expressive nature of architecture, as well as the reflection of the multitude of influences on built form. The aim of the study is to identity existing perceptions within the built environment and in so doing begin to r analyse how these become manifest in the built form. he case study looks in particular at the area of Wentworth, situated south of Durban, and how architecture can be used to create public space which contributes to the formation of a collective and heterogeneous community identity. An identity which celebrates the diversity of its inhabitants while giving dignity and a sense of place to the environment.
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