A discourse on housing based on cultural meanings in Malaysia
Azmin, Aida Kesuma
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The central aim of the thesis is building a discourse on housing, highlighting the necessity to maintain quality through sustaining the cultural meanings, which originate from nature, cosmology, worldviews, and traditional values of Malaysian society. The thesis critically addresses the housing policies and strategies, in which the visions of quality are still very ambiguous. The Malaysian government has adopted a housing policy, which imposes homogeneity and similarity on the diverse multicultural ethnic societies that are affluent with indigenous knowledge, tradition and unique identities in their dwelling architectures.The research approach is divided into three major parts, and the conclusion. The aim of Part One is to draw attention to the Malaysian housing phenomena and the thesis aspiration. The first chapter covers the country background and its social -cultural context. Despite the cultural diversity, the Malaysians possess a common attitude towards nature. The thesis identifies the philosophical notion of boundary, as a valuable intellectual tool in developing an indigenous model for housing. Boundary has subconsciously driven the formation of various cultural and architectural identities in the Malaysian indigenous dwelling environment. The second chapter continues the process of enlightening the housing discourse by clarifying the need to decipher the meanings related to housing, human perceptions, and aestheticsThe second part of the thesis discourse establishes three chapters, which form the philosophical structure of the thesis. The aim of Part Two is to demonstrate the components of cultural meanings, which are the motivating forces responsible for the formation of indigenous dwelling architecture. For the purpose of the research, the study concentrates on the indigenous Malay society as the focus group. This part explores on the qualities originating from the indigenous worldviews of the Malay society, followed by identification of the characteristics of the indigenous model, including the notions of adaptation, sustainability and boundary. The end chapter of Part Two is an intellectual discourse, which supports the main components of the indigenous model.Part Three is the empirical study, in which the author gains insights directly from examining people's perceptions, i.e. from the open -ended questionnaire survey and the indigenous dwelling typologies survey analysis. The aim is to explore the relationship between people and the qualities of living environment through the contribution of cultural meanings. The study enhances more on what the author have already done in the deductive part (Part Two). The outcome of the empirical studies demonstrates the manifestation of these notions in different indigenous dwelling architectural typologies and works of art.The conclusion chapter distils the information gained from the findings of both theoretical framework and empirical studies, by identifying the crucial domains for obtaining quality through cultural meanings in the living environment. It also provides recommendations concerning the future housing policy, strategies, planning, and design guidelines for housing in which the architects, planners and housing authorities are able to interpret, and implement in search of a national architectural identity for housing in Malaysia, which is tolerant, sustainable and unifying.