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Journal On Rapoport

Human had a long history of showing their will to shape, control their surrounding and understanding the natural world. Thus, it is no surprise that mankind had gone this far in advanced technology. By improving our science and technology, we are able to understand and research the world. This will allow mankind to create more stability thus avoiding some of the effects from great fluctuations of nature forces explore the truth of myths. With this theme in mind, I find it to be a very common characteristic among the three articles by: Rapoport (Australian Aborigines And The Definition Of Place), Hertzberger (Lessons For Student In Architecture) and, Deyner (African Traditional Architecture), which could possibly explain the difference in the definition of place both by the author and the locale. It is not so much as the level of technology that these cultures exist in, but more relevantly, the period of technology improvement they are living in which defined their indigenous landscape architecture.

Rapoport believes that Australian Aborigines, "cooperated with nature rather than to subdue it" (Rapoport, 1980:p.44.) I found this to be a point that is somewhat accurate but not precise. The fact that these Australian aborigines did not advance in technology, are forced to accept nature as it is. As a result, they live their lives primitively through myths and stories instead of research and development. This is evident when compared to Deyner's article, explaining that the more advanced (this advancement is draw from the fact that these less nomadic Africans do trade and had farms) Africans developed more permanent dwellings, practical buildings (huts) which created a clearer boundary to identify their territory. However, the Africans' minute building structures are still primitive and they are only constructed to serve a prime purpose like say, a small mud granary to store food. On the other hand, Hertzberger's "Lesson for student in Architecture" dwell deeper into concept of space and how we divide and articulate building structures when he mentioned, "question of sensing the required distance and proximity between people ...purpose of space." (Hertzberger, 1991:p.100)This level of division and detachment from natural dwelling showed a precise mentality of modern era human though I could not say that we are now in the 20th century and do not appreciate or dislike nature. But the point is that, modern era human had so much control and complex thought that enable us articulate our confinement (concept of space).

I would like to gather and conclude my splatter of dissection from the three articles by saying that without advance in technology, human are more contempt to adapt to nature and somewhat more dependent on each other in a simple community thus the our confinement and space boundary remained blurry. However, as we are more advanced in technology, we tend to divide into subgroups within subgroups as the community grows and we become more complex as human. Thus we confine ourselves within a smaller unit. Since we are committed to confine ourselves in a limited space, we rely on architecture improvement and advanced technology to expand our capacity to function as a smaller unit.

In both chapters, "Privacy" and "Environment Cognition and Perception" of Culture And Environment" by Altman and Chemers, the mentality of human with regard to place and surrounding is further explored. In the case of human defining their personal space and privacy, I do very much agree with the author's thought and as precisely as the author puts it, "privacy is the central concept that provides a bridge between personal space, territory, and other realms of social behavior."(Altman&Chemers 1984:p.79) Though this statement may sound too generalized, it is very true in all cultures throughout times and even in the animal kingdom.

Though opening an article with such great generalization when Christian Norgerg-Schulcz declared that, "everywhere the wandering remains the essence of dwelling, as the staying between the earth and the sky..." (Christian Norberg-Shulcz, 1985:p.18), the author managed to focused into more concise feeling of "dwelling places" when he zooms in on public confinement (shared buildings) and personal confinement (room, home) in which Altman and Chemers' "Privacy" and "Environment Cognition And Perception" of Culture and Surrounding had already much explained. This article gave a pretty correct idea in the aspect of space and confinement, though I could not say for all of us. The reduction of space that confines us may give us privacy but yet in a sense we all do live on this earth as a whole, much similar to the Australian Aborigines.

Lastly, the article by Cooper, Designing For Human Behavior, "Architecture and Behavioral Sciences" explains and pretty much sums up the rest of the readings of how human view and treat their confinement (dwellings) in a symbolic sense. Clare reveals the deeper sense of fantasy less to say our subconscious as architects when designing an environment both representing it symbolically, and sacredly.

Works Cited:

  • Altman, I&M. Chemers. 1984 [1980]. "Privacy." Culture Environment. Minterey, Ca. Brooks/ Cole, p. 43-71, 75-100 (chapters 3 & 4).
  • Cooper, Clare. 1974. "The House As Symbol Of Self." Designing for Human Behaviour. J.Lang, et al (eds.). Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, pp130-146
  • Deyner, Susan. 1978. African traditional architecture-a historical and geographical perspective. (Africana Publishing Co. 1978) Selected Chapters
  • Hertzberger, Herman. "Place And Articaulation" Lessons for Students In Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Utigeverij Oto publishers, 1991.) pp.190-201
  • Rapoport, Amos. Australian Aborigines And The Definition Of Place. In Oliver, P. Shelter, Sign & Symbol. (Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press, 1980), pp.38-51.

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