top of page
  • 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


Abu Sirryeh, S. (2018) Sustainability Principles in Traditional Islamic Architecture [Online] [Accessed: 2 December 2019]

Alsop, W., Bratton, D., Brislin, P., Burry, M., Chaszar, A., Coates, N., Cook, P., Cruz, T., Fordham, M., Fuksas, M., Goodwin, K., Heathcote, E., Hunt, A., Jencks, C., Maxwell, B., McGrath, B., Merkel, J., Murray, P., Rattenbury, K., Robbins, M., Saunt, D., Schumacher, P., Sharples, C., Spiller, N., van Schaik, L., Weisz, C., Yeang, K., Zaera-Polo, A. (2016) ‘Can The Obscene Exist Without Its Implied Condemnation and Subsequent Punishment?', Evoking through Design: Contemporary Moods in Architecture, 224. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 71.

Anand, S. (2017) ‘Booze and bulls***: The dark side of Dubai’,, Australia, 20 July. Available at: [Accessed: 5th December 2019]

Baldwin, E. (2019) ‘Building Anew: Abu Dhabi’s Modern Architectural Projects’, ArchDaily, 24 September. Available at: [Accessed: 28 November 2019]

Bernad, M.M, (2017) Colonialism and Architecture [Online] [Accessed: 1 January 2020]

Blackall, M. (2019) ‘Global Tourism Hits Record Highs – But Who Goes Where On Holiday?’, The Guardian, London, 1 July. Avilable at: [Accessed: 19 November 2019]

Bochner, S. 1994. Section VI Chapter 35: Culture Shock. In: Lonner, W.J., Malpass, R.S ed. Psychology and Culture. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, pp. 245

Bochner, S & Furnham , A. 1994. Intercultural contact: process and outcomes. In: Bochner, S & Furnham, A eds. Culture Shock: Psychological reactions to unfamiliar environments. London: Routledge, pp. 9

Brislin, P. 2012. Identity, Place and Human Experience. In: Alsop et al. eds. Human Experience and Place. London: Wiley, pp. 8-13

Commercial Interior Design (2019) W Muscat’s Design is Inspired by a Nomadic Bedouin Traveller. [Online] [Accessed: 4 December 2019]

Derakhshani, F. 2012. Appropriating, Reclaiming and Inventing Identity Through Architecture. In: Alsop et al. eds. Human Experience and Place. London: Wiley, pp. 29-33

Ellewood, M., Redman, L.D. (2016) ‘The Science of Wonderlust’, Conde Nast Traveller, London, 12 June. Available at: [Accessed: 5 December 2019]

Ettehad, S., Karimi, R. A., Kari, G., 2014, ‘The Role of Culture in Promoting Architectural Identity’, European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences 2014, vol.3, No.4 Special Issue on Architecture, Urbanism, and Civil Engineering ISSN 1805-3602

EVS Translations (2017) The Role of Architecture in Preserving Cultural Identity. [Online] [Accessed: 16 July 2019]

Food and Agricultural Organisation (2008) United Arab Emirates. [Online] [Accessed: 5 December 2019]

Foster and Partners (2014) Masdar City. [Online] [Accessed: 4 December 2019]

Gay, P. (2007) ‘Is Modernism Dead?’, The Guardian, London, 7 November. Available at: [Accessed 2 December 2019]

Giddens, A. (1990) The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press in association with Blackwell.

Gilden, J. (2010) ‘Experiencing Different Cultures Enhances Creativity’, EurekAlert!, Washington D.C., 29 June. Available at:

Hancock, J. (2017) The Benefits of Experiencing Another Culture Are Immense [Online] [Accessed: 21 September 2019]

Harvey, D. (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford. United Kingdom: Basil Blackwell Ltd.

Hobson, B. (2018) ‘A Great Hotel Experience is “much more than just design” say AHEAD Asia Awards judges’, Dezeen, London, 29 March. Available at: [Accessed: 27 July 2019]

Kamin, B (2001). Why Architecture Matters. (1st ed.). London: The University of Chicago Press.

Kim, S.D. (2010) Skyscrapers Express Wealth and Power of The City. [Online] [Accessed: 2 December 2019] Available at:

Kuiper, K. (2019) ‘Modernism’, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Edinburgh, 19 November. Available at: [Accessed: 4 December 2019]

Kumar, K. (no date) Modernisation. [Online] [Accessed: 1 January 2020] Available at:

Lindsay, C. (2019) ‘AHEAD Asia Hotel Award Winners Show “design born out of real heritage”’, Dezeen, London, 5 April. Available at: [Accessed: 6 December 2019]

Leach, N. 2002. Belonging: Towards a Theory of Identification with Space. In: Hillier, J & Rooksby, E eds. Habitus: A Sense of Place. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited , pp. 281-292

Lehrer, J. (2010) ‘Why We Travel’, The Guardian, London, 14 March. Available at: [Accessed: 19 November 2019]

Llanakila. (2018) Interviewed by Natalie Clarkson for Virgin, 19 November. Available at: [Accessed: November 18 2019]

Lonner, W.J., Malpass, R.S. 1994. Section IV: Culture's Influence on Basic Psychological Processes. In: Lonner, W.J., Malpass, R.S. ed. Psychology and Culture. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, pp. 127

Louis, A., 2015, Famous Success Quotes, New York: Let’s Go Big Family, Brooklyn.

Maclay, B., 2014, “The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future”. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, p.vii

Madray, D., (2017) The Evolution of Design with Culture Thinking: Why We Should Think About Culture Before we Design [Online] [Accessed: 21 July 2019]

Mccarter, R & Pallasmaa, J (2012). Understanding Architecture. (1st ed.). London: Phaidon Press Limited.

Ministry of Social Development (2003) Cultural Identity. [Online] [Accessed: 18 July 2019]

Mirchandani, K. (2015) Ontological Design: How Our Spaces Shape us and How we are Inspired to Shape our Spaces. Masters. University of Lincoln.

Mumtaz, K.K. (1999) Modernity and Tradition – Contemporary Architecture in Pakistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

National Geographic (2019) Map of Human Migration. [Online] [Accessed: 4 December 2019] Available at:

Newsroom (no date) 12 Most Technologically Advanced Nations in The World. [Online] [Accessed: 1 January 2020] Available at:

OMRAN (2005) Oman Tourism Development Company. [Online] [Accessed: 4 December 2019] Available at:

Paradigm Design Group (2018) Hotel Design That Celebrates Local Culture, History and Style [Online] [Accessed: 27 July 2019] Available at:

Perez, A. (2010) AD Classics: Seagram Building / Mies van der Rohe. [Online] [Accessed: 2 December 2019] Available at:

Psychology Blog Aimee (2013) Wanderlust: A Genetic Basic to a Globetrotting Fanatic. [Online] [Accessed: 4 December 2019] Available at:

Rashid Al Maktoum, M. (2015) Flashes of Thought: Lessons in life and leadership from the man behind Dubai. London: Profile Books Ltd.

Rietbergen, P. (1998) Europe: A Cultural History. London: Routledge.

Roberts, N. (2016) Surface Tensions: Searching for Sacred Connection in a Media-Saturated World. Massachusetts, United States: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing.

Sayigh, A. (2019) Sustainable Vernacular Architecture: How The Past Can Enrich The Future. Basel, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Sen, A. (2002) Does Globalisation Equal Westernisation? [Online] [Accessed: 1 January 2020] Available at:

Silva, J. (2014) Shots of Awe: How our Creations Change Us. [Online] [Accessed: 21 July 2019] Available at:

Smithfield, B. (2016) Guy de Maupassant ate lunch everyday at the base of the Eiffel Tower, because that was the only place in Paris from which he could not see it… [Online] [Accessed: 29 November 2019] Available at:

Travel for Difference. July 2016. Dubai, The City in The Middle of The Desert. [Online] [Accessed: 5 December 2019] Available at:

Trimble, J.E. 2003. Introduction: Social Change and Acculturation. In: Chun, K.M, Organista, P.B & Marín, G eds. Acculturation: Advances in Theory, Measurement, and Applied Research. Washington: American Psychology Association , pp. 3-13

UKEssays. November 2018. Importance of Culture Essay. [online] [Accessed: 18 July 2019] Available from:

UKEssays. November 2018. Importance Of Culture Tourism Cultural Studies Essay. [online]. [Accessed: 18 July 2019] Available from:

Velasquez, I. (2018) Incorporating Local Culture is the Latest Trend in Resort Design [Online] [Accessed: 27 July 2019] Available at:

Very Well Mind. (2019) How the Need To Belong Influences Human Behavior and Motivation. [Online] [Accessed: 19 November 2019] Available at:

Vidler, A. (2013) Building Seagram: A Memoir of Mies and Modernism. [Online] [Accessed: 2 December 2019] Available at:

Visit Dubai. (2019) 15.8 Million People Visited Dubai in 2017. [Online] [Accessed: 5 December 2019] Available at:

Ward, C, Bochner, S & Furnham, A (2001). The Psychology of Culture Shock. (1st ed.). East Sussex: Routledge.

Watkins, E. (2014) ‘Local Culture Informs Hotel Design’, Hotel News Now, Ohio, 27 May. Available at: [Accessed: 27 July 2019]

Willis, A-M. (2006) ‘Ontological Designing’, Design Philosophy Papers, vol. 4, no.2, pp. 69-92.

Wonders, M. (2017) Interviewed by Josh Sims for Mojeh Men, 10 May. Available at: (Accessed: 28 November 2019).

World Population Review (2019) Dubai Population 2019. [Online] [Accessed: 5 December 2019]

Zumthor, P. Thinking Architecture. 2nd ed. Basel, Boston, Berlin: Birkhauser


Figure 1: National Geographic ‘Map of Human Migration’ (2020) a map of human migration based off DNA tracking. [Online] [Accessed on 3 January 2020]

Figure 2: ‘Milan’s Duomo’ (no date) a photo of Milan’s Duomo Cathedral at night-time. [Online] [Accessed on 3 January 2020]

Figure 3: Elena Breeze’s ‘Paris Google Image Results (2020) a screenshot of Google image search results for Paris.

Figure 4: Foster and Partner’s ‘Masdar City’ (2014) a design visual of Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. [Online] [Accessed on 28 November, 2019]

Figure 5: Karim Shahib’s ‘Two Veiled Emirati Women Stare at a Foreigner Wearing a Revealing Dress’ (2016) Emirati women stare at a foreigner wearing a revealing dress at the Dubai World Cup horse races. [Online] [Accessed on 5th December, 2019]

Figure 6: No name ‘Muscat’ (no date) a panoramic view of an area of Muscat, Oman. [Online] [Accessed on 5th December, 2019]

Figure 7: Dmitry Birin ‘Dubai Skyline’ (2019) a panoramic view of Dubai’s skyline [Online] [Accessed on 5th December, 2019]

Figure 8: No name ‘W Muscat’ (2019) the lobby in the W Hotel in Muscat [Online] [Accessed on 4 December, 2019]

Figure 9: Crowne Plaza ‘Lobby Lounge’ (2019) photograph of the lobby lounge in The Crowne Plaza Qurum, Muscat. [Online] [Accessed on 2 December, 2019]

6 views0 comments


bottom of page