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Sacred ModernityNature, Environment and the Postcolonial Geographies of Sri Lankan Nationhood$
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Tariq Jazeel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318863

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318863.001.0001

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Built Space, Environment, Modernism: (Re)reading ‘Tropical Modern’ Architecture

Built Space, Environment, Modernism: (Re)reading ‘Tropical Modern’ Architecture

(p.95) Chapter 5 Built Space, Environment, Modernism: (Re)reading ‘Tropical Modern’ Architecture
Sacred Modernity

Tariq Jazeel

Liverpool University Press

This first chapter of Part II (on tropical modern architecture) introduces Sri Lanka's tropical modern architectural style and the kinds of environmental experience it aims to afford users. By engaging a body of work on architecture drawn from cultural geography and critical architectural studies, the chapter advances a strategy for re-reading this modernist architecture and its environmental resonances in ways that tease out its ethnicizing effects in the Sri Lankan context. The chapter focuses specifically on two architects key to this post-war modernist movement, Geoffrey Bawa and Minnette de Silva, and it explores how their work aesthetically and ornamentally territorializes the same kinds of sacred modern aesthetic domains drawn through Part I of the book. The chapter contextualizes the architecture, whilst drawing connections between its environmental resonances and those delineated in Part I. It suggests that we reconsider it as not benign ‘art for art's sake’ but as a form of architectural production that is also heavily implicated in forms of banal nationalism.

Keywords:   Tropical modernism, architecture, aesthetics, Geoffrey Bawa, Minnette de Silva, modernism, environment, Lunuganga, Sri Lanka, ’43 Group

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