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"Towards A Regional Identity`

By : Majaha Mthethwa

The paper looks at the application of traditional forms and decorative elements in contemporary Zimbabwean architecture as part of the development of regional identity through an analysis of Bulawayo Mayor’s Residence project. Two primary sources are used i.e., theoretical material on “culture”, “identity” and “supportiveness” and fieldwork material from respondents in and around Bulawayo. The paper draws mainly from social and cultural theories as well as identity literature in architecture. It is argued that understanding historical developments of the concept of identity in social sciences is key to comprehending architects’ engagement with local cultural issues in their design of built-environments, i.e., “cultural connectivity”, particularly in third world countries. In this respect, cultural connectivity can be considered a prime determinant of “local appropriateness” of built environments, which can be achieved through designing of architectural projects that are of national and regional importance.

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