Indigenous traditional knowledge and contemporary architecture in Australia

Indigenous traditional knowledge and contemporary architecture in Australia Book Section

The Handbook of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture

  • Author(s): O’Rourke, Timothy
  • Secondary Author(s): Grant, Elizabeth, Greenop, Kelly, Refiti, Albert L., Glenn, Daniel J.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Springer Singapore
  • ISBN: 978-981-10-6904-8

Abstract: This chapter traces the varied uses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander building traditions across different periods of colonisation to the early twenty-first century. In Australia, two-way exchanges of European and Indigenous building technology began on the colonial frontier and continued in remote parts of the country into the twentieth century. Despite the eventual dominance of colonial and modern architecture, Indigenous building traditions have persisted in certain places across an uneven history of European contact. Largely dismissed by the colonists, the continued use and adaptation of building traditions, as well as projects that reconstruct lapsed building practice, demonstrate a richer and more diverse history of Indigenous building skills and knowledge. Since the 1970s, increasing references to the Indigenous culture, art and history in Australian architecture contrast with the relatively few buildings that have referenced Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander building traditions. The wider recognition of the varied Indigenous dwelling types and materials suggests a potential for greater reuse and inventive adaptation of these traditions in contemporary architecture.

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O’Rourke, Timothy, 2018, Indigenous traditional knowledge and contemporary architecture in Australia, Book Section, viewed 19 May 2024,

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