Cover

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Front Matter

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

This book has had a long gestation period: the primary research and fieldwork were conducted between 1989 and 1993; my PhD dissertation of 1997 grew out of the fieldwork; and a great deal of the fieldwork has been used in the current book, which was written between 2003 and 2004. Although 2004 did not have the opportunity...

A Note on Names and Terms

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pp. xii-xiii

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PROLOGUE

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pp. 1-12

The American architect Louis Kahn contemplated a romantic picture when he designed the Salk Institute (1959-1965), a science laboratory for biological studies in La Jolla, California. In the central plaza, which is bound by two rows of concrete buildings and is open to the infinite Pacific Ocean on the cliff edge, scientists would walk up and down between the laboratory building and the plaza; they would...

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1. ARCHITECTONIC FABRICATIONS OF MINORITIES: The Dong and Others

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pp. 13-37

Lu You from the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), well known for his poems and extensive travelling experiences, had the following observations on the southern minority groups in his Laoxue an biji, or “Notes from an Old Study Shed...

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2. MYTH AND RITUALISTIC POSTURES: The Workings of the Settlement

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pp. 38-88

The Italian architect Giuseppe Terragni, in 1936, depicted his newly completed Casa del Fascio (Fascist Party local headquarters) in Como with a famous photomontage: the building, with a coffer-grid open frontage, is presented as the central stage of a mass rally in an open square (Figure 2.1). The scene is so singularly compelling, it is as if Casa del Fascio, the building itself, were addressing this massive congregation....

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3. CHORAL SYMBOLIZATION: The Social Life of Public Structures

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pp. 89-137

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera could not reconcile beauty in the European sense with that of New York. Despite his distaste for New York’s “unintentional beauty,” Franz, Kundera’s character, admits that it sparkles “with a sudden wondrous poetry.” Yet, although intriguing, the beauty of New York frightens him...

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4. TYPE, MYTH, AND HETEROGENEITY: Pile-Built Dwellings

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pp. 138-166

In 1986, the Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier, together with his partner Pierre Jeanneret, published the famous “five points” for new architecture, which have become some of the key criteria for defining modern architecture in the twentieth century. The five points are piles...

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5. OUT OF TIME: Ahistorical Architecture and Cultural Renewal

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pp. 167-178

In 1985, an exhibition of “Dong Architecture and Customs in Guizhou” was staged in Beijing by the Guizhou provincial government. In the planning stages, the curators wanted to borrow the drum from the drum tower in Zengchong village as a significant item among the exhibits, for the Zengchong drum tower is considered the oldest in the entire Dong region...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 179-182

Appraisals of the splendor of architecture deal only with spatial and dispositional conditions to the degree that what is behind the “exterior” image is neglected altogether. To discern the life of the “interior,” circumstantial social conditions need to be considered in relation to physical laws of form and space...

Notes

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pp. 183-190

Bibliography

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pp. 191-214

Index

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pp. 215-219

About the Author

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