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Title: Conserving the 'heritage of others'? : Issues of conserving early post-War architecture and planning in Taiwan
Author: Wang, Yi-Wen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 8073
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2012
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An apparent shift of focus in the field of architectural conservation has emerged in the last two decades. The twentieth-century architectural and planning legacies have received greater recognition for their cultural significance and been rediscovered, evaluated and even statutorily protected as 'heritage'. In some West European and North American countries, the deep-rooted prejudice and widespread mistrust towards twentieth-century, particularly post-war, structures have been gradually eliminated by the launch of conservation awareness campaigns and through the effort of scholarly societies, amenity groups as well as heritage authorities. Parallel activities are seemingly taking place in Asia in recent years. However, the advocacy of modem Asian architecture conservation is in fact out of sympathy with post-war structures. Motivated by the ambivalence toward the heritage values of the Jhong-Sing New Village (JSNV) in Taiwan - a yesterday's Garden City of Tomorrow imported from abroad - this research explores the inherent conceptual contradiction, necessity and practicability of conserving post-war modem architecture in Asia. Whereas modem architecture has often been conceived as a creation of Western cultures, conserving modern architecture in a non-Western context paradoxically denotes preserving something imported and alien to local societies - the 'heritage of others'. The research, therefore, poses the fundamental questions as to whether, why and how to conserve non-Western modem architecture in general and the JSNV in Taiwan in particular. The topic is approached by conceptualising why and how to conserve twentieth-century architecture; in what ways modem architecture differs from historic conservation; to what greater flexibility it has in striking the balance between authenticity and adaptability; and, ultimately, in what aspects non-Western modern conservation differs from that in the West. To piece together a general guidance and formulate recommendations on conserving the JSNV in Taiwan, the literature review is primarily drawn from the four following areas that seem marginally relevant but are circuitously informative: 1. the established theoretical development of modem architecture conservation in the West; 2. the practical implications of modem conservation in the Western countries, particularly in England; 3. a selection of case studies on post-war housing conservation projects of England; 4. a theoretical enquiry into the nature of non-Western modernism and the current understanding and discourse of 'modem' architecture and its conservation in Asia. With the express purpose of understanding the major issues concerning the conservation of post-war structures, Taiwan and the JSNV are chosen respectively as a national and case study in this research. To answer the questions of 'why' and 'how' that are exploratory and explanatory in nature, the qualitative research methods - a combination of a history and case study - are adopted to have a better understanding about the issues possibly involved when promoting the conservation of post-war architecture in a non-Western context. In Asia, as well as other non-Western countries, post-war buildings and cityscapes have borne the imprint of dramatic socio-political and economic transformations and consequently have been the receptacles for the corresponding socio-cultural changes and the depository of collective memories. The propagation of modernist doctrines and practices did not ensure the creation of a world with a high degree of universality and homogeneity, but rather gave rise to diverse manifestation and heterogeneity. Despite the evident Western influence, the development of post-war modernism and urbanism in Taiwan were invariably contextualized. The constant presence of post-war structures in the everyday life of the local society is a vital cultural aspect of the recent past and, therefore, their existence should be sustained and their heritage value should be given due merit and statutorily protected. 11
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available