The Story: Beliefs and Perspectives
Beliefs and Perspectives
Modernism perpetuated a perverse view of chaos in natural architecture and by extension an arrogant disregard for those social cultural models that pursued it. Consider the western view of African cultures, where many societies have been subjected to generations of slavery by tribal practice, the colonial expansion of Europe and apartheid. Slavery is dehumanizing because it takes away individual freedom and breaks down the human spirit. Yet there are modern labour-intensive practices, used for commercial gain, that perpetuate this dehumanising experience. The principle of division of labour, often leads to the entrapment of unskilled workers. If learning is fostered amongst unskilled workers, it is to a large extent limited to tactile learning.
The attempts to export modernism from the “First World” to the “Third World” through commercial ventures have resulted in some practices akin to centuries of slavery. Industrialization was packaged to third world countries but the monopoly of control, technologies, knowledge and information were kept in the hands of the first world [Jencks, 1989, p.56].
There seems to be a lack of understanding that theory or abstract thinking plays a key role in action and results. That above all else, it is the thinking patterns and our ability to generate them that must be nurtured and where investment must be placed. When likening the hope of an "African Renaissance" with the Italian Renaissance, many leaders in business and politics focus on the prosperity and wealth generated during that period rather than on the shift in thinking that caused it. The true enlightenment that came from the Italian Renaissance was the shift in space awareness from a two dimensional tactile view to a visual three-dimensional perspective. Africa’s rebuilding and renewal (physically, socially and spiritually) lies in the hands of architecture-intensive disciplines – in the forging of modernist and natural thinking.