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Space, Time: Identity

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Perceived as a symbol of the world and experienced as a powerful frame that shapes the cognitive process, architecture is intimately related to identity. It embodies a narrative that can be appropriated and turned into a ‘reflective' discourse. Identity represents a key concept of the modern era, and its appraisal results from changing perception of space and time. These changes engendered a loss of references and, hence, a need for identity. Pictured as immutable, identity is in reality a subjective, evolving concept, defined by the process of identification. The latter appears as a more relevant category, producing various responses and thus explaining the multifaceted aspect of the images of identity. Constructed under the direct guidance of power and culture, the images of identity are forged through the intimate collaboration of ideology and aesthetics. Conceptually, the primary referents of identification are subsumed by space and time. Yet these two also constitute the fundamental coordinates of architecture. Hence architecture appears as a privileged medium of expression, representing both an instrument and a vehicle that conveys identity. Time brings a perspectival understanding of tradition, and thereby transforms history into a major referent. Space exalts the values of appropriateness and adequacy to the site, perceived as a matrix shaping the characteristics of its inhabitants and of their artefacts, as well. In architectural terms, the concept of time catalysed the creation of historicisms and various ‘national styles', while the concept of space favoured all forms of regionalisms and ‘localisms'.
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Keywords: Appropriateness; Architectural Narrative; Architectural Nationalism; Architectural Regionalism; Contextualism; Historicism; Identification; Identity; Localism; Modernity; Space; Time; ‘National Styles'

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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