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  • Writer's pictureElena Breeze

Global V Local - Architectural Globalisation and its Effect on Local Cultural Identity (conclusion)

Conclusion Cultural diversity is to be celebrated for the predominately positive effect it has on society. Architecture and design play an important role in reflecting our differing identities, symbolising our culture and values. Globalisation and Modernisation are currently dampening the celebration of cultural diversity, their ideals leading to designs that are uniform and Western in nature. This globalised design aesthetic drives non-Western countries to conform to a mould of what an “advanced” city or country looks like. In some cases, such as Dubai, this contributes to creating a sterile and contradictory atmosphere. The globalised design of buildings subjugates the local culture in a way that devalues it and suggests that one can act how one would in the Western world, at times leading to (unknowingly) disrespectful behaviour. Cultures evolving and places becoming more multicultural is an inevitable side effect of travel, and indeed globalisation. This is not a plea to halt globalisation or Modernity – there are undeniable benefits to both – but in architectural design we should aim to combine them with, and be sensitive to, local cultures. We should create a process wherein we ensure local cultures are maintained while simultaneously keeping an open mind about integrating other cultures. I would advocate governments taking the example of countries such as Oman and playing a more central role in encouraging the preservation of aspects of local cultures in design, so alerting those visiting their country to what is important and valuable to them. As a result uncomfortable contradictions and disrespectful behaviour can be minimised.


As hotels contribute to tourists' experience of a place, they too have an important role and as such their design should also nod towards the culture in which they are located. Hotel chains coming into foreign cultures should work with local designers, cultural educators and tourist organisations in a bid to ensure their hotel showcases that location’s history and culture adequately. Furthermore, if materials and components are being imported to a location, they should be suitable to the climate and environment in which they will be situated. In conclusion, we should be more meaningful and considerate in our design. We are at a point where money and power are its driving force. I ask that we, as designers and cultural groups, observe and consult, putting more thought into the design decisions so that we take full account of existing models and local people’s needs and wants. Word count: 4905


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