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Contested Modernities. Postcolonial Achitecture and the Construction of Identities in Southeast Asia
ARCH+ 243

Idea and guest editor, with Sally Below, Eduard Kögel, and Christian Hiller/ARCH+
Several contributions (texts and photographies)

Using examples from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Singapore, ARCH+ 243 focuses on how new national identities were constructed through architecture and urban planning in the course of decolonization. The buildings created during this time of transformation not only illustrate the young nations’ emancipatory aspirations, but also represent important examples of tropical modernism. A look at global interdependencies, such as West Germany’s development aid and East Germany’s socialist solidarity, provide insight into the geopolitical background of Western involvement in the wider region, including countries such as Vietnam.

Today, the existence of many of these “architectures of independence” is under threat, not only due to rapid urbanization in most Southeast Asian regions, but also each country’s politically driven reassessments of its own (architectural) history. In response, the authors and projects featured in this issue advocate a critical reappraisal of these architectures, along with their preservation and adaptive reuse.

In the framework of the project Contested Modernities, Sally Below, Eduard Kögel and Moritz Henning developed this issue of ARCH+ as guest editors together with Christian Hiller from ARCH+. Besides this, Moritz Henning contributed with several essays, interviews and photographies to this issue:

Encounters with and discussions about architectural modernism in Southeast Asia
Sally Below, Moritz Henning, Christian Hiller, Eduard Kögel

„I wanted to marry Cambodia with the occidental world“
The Cambodian architect Lu Ban Hap in conversation with Moritz Henning

The White Building at Front du Bassac
Moritz Henning

„Architecture is about everything and nothing“
The Cambodian architect Mam Sophana in conversation with Moritz Henning

A new tropical architecture
d-associates in conversation with Moritz Henning and Christian Hiller

A modern Burmese style
A conversation with U Sun Oo for Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism

Bogyoke Aung San Mausoleum / U Sun Oo
Moritz Henning with Win Thant Win Shwin

Yangon Region Parliament
Moritz Henning, Pwint, and Win Thant Win Shwin

The tradition of Modernity
A conversation with U Shwe for Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism

„Southeast Asia as a geocultural project“
Ute Meta Bauer in conversation with Moritz Henning, Christian Hiller and Eduard Kögel

Further contributions are by Ben Bansal, d-associates, Michael Falser, Ho Puay Peng, Ho Weng Hin, Hun Sogkana, Eduard Kögel, Andra Matin, Pen Sereypagna, Poum Measbandol, farid rakun/ruangrupa/Gudskul, Giovanna Silva, Darren Soh, Tay Kheng Soon, Setiadi Sopandi, Shirley Surya, Vuth Lyno (German edition only), Wee H. Koon, and Johannes Widodo.

The German issue is available here.
The English issue is available here.

Top: National Monument, Jakarta. Photo: Moritz Henning