A/Prof. David Beynon1
1University Of Tasmania, Launceston
Ghassan Hage once asked “. . . what is more part of Australia’s multicultural heritage than the many towns and villages from which Australia’s migrant population has originated?” This paper takes up this question in relation to how notions of what is Asian might be geographically reinterpreted through settlement of recent migrants from Asia in Australia. As Australia’s suburbs have become sites for the settlement of diverse Asian diasporas, what does the transposition to the Australian environment imply for definitions of what is Asian, what is Australian, and whether the distinction will remain useful in future? Australia’s self-identity in relation to built environments is based on having particular forms of housing, largely based on suburban traditions following European and North American models. However, new settlers from Asia may be accustomed to other forms, not only in relation to housing types, but also in the relations between domestic, commercial and public spaces. Complicating this apparent dichotomy when considering the future of housing Asia/Australia are the multiplicity of backgrounds of migrants (both from Asia and other locations) in Australia, and the influence of global trends, hegemonies and perceptions of class on architectural styles, housing types and settlement patterns across both Asia and Australia.
David Beynon is an Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Tasmania. His research involves investigating the social, cultural and compositional dimensions of architecture in relation to migration, cultural change and urban renewal. His current work includes investigations into intercultural manifestations of contemporary architecture, historiographic implications of digitally reconstructing ancient temples, and the creative possibilities of post-industrial built environments.