The global spread of uniform modes of production and cultural values has been accompanied by a dissemination of stereotypes of "modern" architecture styles almost everywhere around the globe. Paradoxically, the reverse process has also emerged: In some countries, the elites feel the necessity to counterbalance the "loss of identity" and defend their own cultures against the "intruding" forces of globalization. What started as a defensive notion has developed into a more progressive attempt to re-create what has allegedly been lost. This trend is being strongly expressed in discourses about architecture in countries of the South.
Who are the actors feeling compelled to "construct" new identities? How are these new identities in architecture created in various parts of the world? And, which are the ingredients borrowed from various historical and ethnic traditions and other sources? These and other questions are discussed in five case studies from different parts of the world, written by renowned scholars from Brazil (Ruth Verde Zein), Mexico (Susanne Dussel), Egypt (Khaled Asfour), India (Rahul Mehrotra) and Singapore (William Lim).
Peter Herrle is professor for architecture and international urbanism at Berlin University of Technology (TU Berlin) and head of the Habitat Unit.
Stephanus Schmitz was research assistant at the Habitat Unit and is currently working as an architect for GTZ in Ethiopia.