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Critical Review on the Works of Bruno Stagno

In: Social Issues

Submitted By ALLEYNE
Words 2287
Pages 10
Gerardo Mosquera
The opening pages give an overview of the life and works of Gerardo Mosquera and some of the works he has done and written.
The focus of this body of work is that of globalization, Mosquera seeks to define what globalization is, whom it affects and how it impacts on regions.
The globalization that we imagine i.e. having interconnectivity with each other around the whole planet is different to that of the author. His beliefs are that globalization is a series of circuits passing information among each other. Essentially it is a series of centres and circuits connected.
The information that these connections transfer is economics, culture and basic communication.
Globalisation has an impacted on culture, by making culture known to the wider world seeks to legitimize it and make new epistemes.
Instead of expanding our global space globalization seeks to make the global experience more intimate. Urbanization is the product of globalization when people move from the edges usually consisting of the countryside they are drawn to these centers (megalopolis).
The influx of people lead to city growth and further development and a bi-product of this urbanization is that of physical and mental displacement.
Globalization and borders are linked, within this movement the world is being brought closer together and both physical and mental boundaries/borders are being erected, changed or removed totally.

The Internet is a virtual example of globalization where it also seeks to bring information worldwide closer to us throughout computer screens.
The world is getting smaller every day, even to become a global village; this is one way to simplify globalization. The west proclaims it culture to be most acceptable and accessible and seeks to dominate everyone and everything and convert “other” societies to this way of thinking.
Post colonial times moving into the time of Globalization there is a change in thinking.
Because there are different cultures around the world the existence of an operative metaculture has been made possible to globalize differences by the local. The rest of the world has made their culture appealing to the western world thus their attempts to absorb the wider world’s culture. Eliminate and conquer is the method used by the west claiming pieces of culture from others, and then exporting the pirated culture to its owners.

Globalisation comes with many problems and issues such as contaminants, mixtures and contradictions. We see a change in today’s culture but not without a fight from subaltern sections. Globalization commercializes culture however Japan has used this to its advantage by promoting their culture through westernization.
Imposing culture upon a society is not easy and people tend to rebel and protect their visions and interest.
Borders and culture within the theory of globalization are key points that could be influenced by harmonization of diversity, flattening contradiction and suppressing conflicting interest. (Keep it simple, one love, and one heart one world).
Globalization is a world shifting boundaries and multi directional contacts, which leads to sticking to what we know and refute change. The effect of culture can be lost and gives a false impression of equality in sharing one culture across the world, thus leading to the statement of globalization not being of fair distribution across the globe.

Globalization: Some Cultural Predicaments

Gerardo Mosquera is the author of the published work Globalization: Some Cultural Predicaments, in which he states “Globalization is not an effective interconnection of the whole planet by a reticular network of communications and exchanges.” Globalization and culture was the focus of this paper as the title suggest. The author begins by defining globalization in his views and how others interpret it to mean. He should have then defined culture and then state his point as to the effects globalization effects culture.

The author mentions and explains urbanization within the first few paragraphs of the paper. This allowed the reader to further understand what is globalization and sets up the topic of culture and globalization.

As I kept reading I felt that the author took too long in hitting the hard facts about the predicaments of globalization and culture. He makes mention of westernization and the hegemonic practices, which was a good point and felt better points like this could have been fostered.

Geographic location in terms of making references to west or south was a bit confusing. The author did not make mention to the particular nation or country he was speaking. I guess he was trying to be politically correct. The only country named in the essay was Japan which was highlighted because of it efforts to fight off westernization.

Overall the essay was difficult to read and seemed almost as if he was rambling. Establishing the points he wanted to discuss would have been helpful to both the reader and the writer. Some instances the syntax of the essay seems to be detached maybe this is the due to a possible translation from Spanish to English.

Tropical Encounter Architecture
Architecture for a Latitude by Bruno Stagno

To remove international design principles from locals architecture and distinguishing our own, utilizing environment context, materials and culture all of which is wrapped up in the essence of the tropics.
Developing a concept of environment syncretism, which is a process, and attitude that uses external forces into local architecture to highlight the unique location.
Adaptation and enrichment of tropical traditional architecture is a long going process and its existence needs to be protected as we approach the end of a century. The promotion of emancipation from universalism should be supported, ensuring that the image and expression of tropics is ever strong and unique. This should be communicated via morphological informality, sensation of openings, architecture of materials, penumbra of interior spaces and expressive synthesis.
Cost Rican buildings have been adapted to their natural environment by
Housing and Groupings of Pre Columbian Populations, The colonial period, the Republican Period, the Banana City, Modern Architecture and Contemporary Architecture.

This is essentially a time line of architectural metamorphosis. Each change of state is influenced but the changes made by progress.
Housing and Groupings of Pre Columbian Populations
Utilizing vegetable materials and wood combated the hot humid climate. This allowed cross ventilation of spaces and effective rainwater run off. Sealed artificial spaces are not necessary then in the tropics.

The Colonial Period
The Spanish influence from the new world saw the removal of traditions to adapt to the new environment. Adobe was the Spaniards contribution; these had few openings on the external and open plan internally. Embellishments like tiles, overhangs and sidewalks were deposited each of which dealt with a specific problem found in the tropical environment.

Republican Period
Merchants and travelers influenced design concepts, which protected against sun and rain and ventilated spaces. The interior roofed patio was the design premise of the house. The villa was introduced and adapted from catalogues into the tropical context; eventually finding it’s was in tradition.

The Banana City
The landscape adapted based on the type of activity. Production and transportation of goods sought the need for a change. Basically industrialization paved the way for a new adaptation, which saw Schools, hospitals, churches, stores shipping being constructed. Foreign entities brought luxuries of golf courses and landing strips. Zinc and local woods were used. The building heights and the floors were raised.

The Modern Movement
Reinforced concrete was introduced erasing local architecture replacing it with a ubiquitous box.

Contemporary Architecture
Culture and contemporary joined together to pay homage to traditional tropical architecture and modern technology. We must extract from foreign influences and adapt it to fit our unique style of design. Aesthetics is no longer the celebrated feature in architecture in today’s environment, mood and expression are.

To maintain tropical architecture consider location, culture, climate, light and materials.
Reinforce that tropics have a strong architectural identity even with influences from international designers and thinkers. It is to adapt to tropical context, culture and uniqueness without compromising identity.

Architecture for a Latitude by Bruno Stagno

In Bruno Stagno’s Architecture for Latitude he establishes his theme well at the beginning of the essay by stating “The theme that I am presenting is related to the assimilation of international influences into local condition, thereby creating a distinct and adapted architecture.” This was very strong start it showed to essay had direction. He stated the characteristics of tropical architecture this allowed persons who were ignorant as to what tropical architecture was to be enlightened. I felt this was good sense on the part of the Author because you cannot fight a battle if you do not know the cause.

The author described the ways that tropical architecture had been adapted over a time line, each period demonstrating reasoning for this change. This allowed the reader to be oriented as o how this tropical architecture evolved.
The essay progressed into prescribing ways of keeping tropical architecture to survive.
The body of work was an easy read the language was reader friendly. However photos and examples could have been used to further engage the reader. The text was effectively broken down into segments of topics, which were clearly understood.

Tropical Architecture
Critical Regionalism in the age of Globalization by Bruno Stagno
Bruno Stagno’s moved to Costa Rica where he gradually discovered a new world. He discovered the essence of tropical life and understanding, which was due to its environment, culture and history.
He states that the tropics have been underestimated by metropolitan philosophies however this primitiveness and innocence was a mere facade. Tropicality is the essence of just being. The tropical experience is regarded as being vivid rather than theoretical or following Cartesian thought that was linear. Tropical thought is diverse, it embraces different elements and coexists, and this is a distinct tropical expression.
Thailand and Costa Rica exhibit the same vernacular architecture. Mr. Stagno is confused about this discovery. The elements of tropicality is climate and location, with both of these areas being close to the equator they share or mirror environments. This then causes both regions to adapt their architecture in the same way to the climate. They utilize, eaves, wooden walls fretwork and so on.
There is not a variant to tropicality there is one tropical condition, the language, religions and cultures may vary but the tropical environment remains the same all along the tropical belt, Therefore similarities in architectural solutions.


In Bruno Stagno’s paper on Tropicality published in the book Tropical Architecture he states “Since the enlightenment a belief that privileges the sole dominance of a single system of reasoning has become widespread.”
He then goes on to agree his point by establishing what are the types of thinking.

The inclusion to pictures into the text was very good in that it broke up the massing of the text. This also gives the visual connection between what was being discussed. The tone of the work was persuasive. It argued it points well to move the readers thinking toward the theory of tropicality being a thought that is transferred across boundaries. What also help in it effectiveness was that the language used made the text reader friendly.

Architecture and City in the Caribbean: The Reinvention of Paradise
Roberto Segre
The celebrations of the turning of the new millennium exhibited globalization at its best. Through Internet and TV millions of people where connected to five continents. However not all places are tapped in this resource.
Staying in ones corner, Europe never considered tropical climate until it affected their possessions. This meant adapting to the change, climate to make their lifestyles comfortable. This signaling an architectural change specific for hot climates thus creating a Caribbean style.
Evidence shown from around the world, in the following images, Fig. 4
Parliament Buildings Barbados
Utilization of wooden louvers, doors open plan spaces, these elements allowed the spaces to breathe and create comfortable livings spaces. The Caribbean is sprinkled with these aspects of adapted colonialism in namely Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.
The essence of topicality with can be deemed its green spaces are celebrated by integrating them into the urban fabric seen in South American cities.

Roberto Segre’s work Architecture and City in the Caribbean: The Reinvention of Paradise defined the tropicality and the Caribbean. His language was easy to read and the examples accompanied by graphics assisted in understand the elements he was discussing. They were familiar to the Caribbean person and were explanatory to a person ignorant to tropical architecture style and themes. The author showed excellent knowledge of material.

Overall Review
The four Articles that were read, summarized and critiqued focused on Globalization, Tropicality, Tropical Identity, and Regionalism. All of them combined created a knowledge base as to what defines Caribbean more so Tropicality based on architecture, culture and economics. How we see ourselves a in a global world and in the global village? Do we adapt to international styles or concepts or take aspects of the International Modernity and make it our own. Its not about we the tropics learning from the world its about the world from us. It’s about protection of culture and norms from being diluted by modernization and westernization. Those are the themes and points coming through from these articles. Small region, big voice, hopes and dreams!

Fig 1.


Fig 4.

Critical Review on the Works of
Bruno Stagno
Roberto Segre
Gerardo Mosquera


Mr. Tony Aarons

April 3 2008

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