A Discourse on the Nature of Indigenous Architecture

  • Hirini Matunga


This chapter offers a personal discourse on the nature of indigenous architecture framed as a response to architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Rewi Thompson. It investigates the notion of a ‘different approach’ to architecture grounded in indigeneity, an indigenous ontology, epistemology and ‘being indigenous’. I investigate this ‘different approach’ through a prism that is my interpretation of Maori architectural history—extrapolating from the local to the national then international context to give my take on the concept of indigenous architecture. I use the Maori concept of whakapapa to signify that indigenous architecture—as a people/placed based human endeavour with its own tradition and genealogy has always existed, and continues to produce a coherent corpus of architecture. I do this by positing the notion of indigenous architecture as both design process and outcome, sourced in unique indigenous narratives and archetypes for design. I also posit the idea of an indigenous architectural chronology and typology that challenges some of the universalising assumptions of ‘western’ architecture and spatial design.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lincoln UniversityLincolnNew Zealand

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