MULTICULTURAL SYMBOLISM IN ARCHITECTURE A Case of the Kisii, Kuria, Luo and Suba

1.1 Preamble

The aim of this study is to examine and investigate the effects of a cultural context on traditional architecture, the aesthetic experiences together with the building technology as existing in perceived reality. The study will be emphasizing on learning from traditional built environments and execution of lessons learnt in achieving multi-cultural and cultural symbolism in contemporary built environments. The study will take a minimalism approach which will offer different spheres in which the functioning of the various specific traditional archetypes will be observed. The study will be done through experimenting with the similarity phenomenon and will follow specific manifestations of general principles and variability of meanings of minimalism in architecture. The study will limit itself to the cultural backgrounds of the Kisii, Kuria, Luo and Suba people of the former Nyanza Province in Kenya.

Attribution of different meanings, interpretation and representation of similar formal visual language, materiality and building technology raises concerns of the values which may produce meaning in cultural and historical perspectives. Establishment of constants in these values drawn from and affected by preconceptions resulting from association of perceived similarities will be employed in w symbolism/ architecture. The study will also seek to determine whether the resultant vernacular architecture is/was conditionally affected and effected by pragmatic needs, symbolic archetypes, cultural metaphors based on tradition or ideologically constructed dogmas. The study will also touch on postulates of the western and other foreign cultures, their influence on architecture in the country and the interface between the two and their effects in the efforts towards cultural and ultimately multicultural symbolism. The goal for comparative analysis of these communities is to investigate conditions that can lead to multicultural symbolism in form and spatial expressions encompassing and drawing from the different manifestations and experiences of traditional architecture. This will be done by investigating, documenting and analysing the traditional architecture with an emphasis on the lessons that can be learned from them.

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