Sense the Cultures

The University of Melbourne

Project idea

This project is to propose an alternative way of representation of an expected respectful bilateral relationship between the Czech Republic and Ethiopia which extraordinarily differ in culture. The project looks to capture the spatial atmospheric traits expressed by either vernacular architectures or iconic ones from both countries. By inhabiting a series of sensory experience, both visitors from Ethiopia and staff form the Czech Republic will be able to tactilely sense the respect attitude towards both cultures that is sent from the Czech Republic, and her conceptions of future bilateral relations based on an equal and respectful position.

Project description

Respecting country starts from understanding her culture. An allied example is China’s approach to pursuit of legal equality an international stage in Mao’s era. One essential aspect is the recognition of China’s civilization as the world’s oldest, continuous existence. Ethiopia is also rich in her ancient civilization, and moreover, rich in her divers ethnic cultures. Although economically, Ethiopia is in a weaker position compared to Czech, the recognition of Ethiopia’s cultural longevity is the base of the bilateral relations.

Thus, facing the two countries with widely different cultures, how this embassy is going to represent them respectfully in an architecture language is the key to the essay. Cultural difference is rooted in citizens’ blood, presenting in their behavior, lifestyle and etc. Architecturally, culture difference is not only simply presented via certain physical elements, but more importantly, through atmosphere that is created by everything presented in the space, specifically, through the experience of the provided information, such as light quality, scent, materiality and specific tectonic, which all relates to the tactile instead of the visual only. The sight is just part of the sense of touch; only when the skin cooperates with vision can human capture the whole story about a space. Therefore, a clear and impressive architectural representation of two different cultures should be done through a series of sensory experience rather than just giving a literal visual imagery. The experience allows people from both sides to incisively feel the respectful and dual expectation in the future bilateral relationship.

Therefore, this project first of all ensures the security requirement as an embassy by separating the circulation of visitors and staff. More importantly, it also aims at creating a journey for visitors from Ethiopia, and the spatial experience for the staff. Via the transition of material referring back to the different cultures, Ethiopians could tactilely sense the respectful attitude sending from the Czech Republic; while staff from Czech could sense familiarity refer to their motherland. In this way, the embassy building is supposed to enhance the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

Technical information

1x master plan, 3x floor plan, 2x section, 1x section perspective, 1x detail section, 1x isometric explosion, 6x visualization


Xuan Luo

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