chapter  1
14 Pages

Social and Environmental Dimensions in Tropical Sustainable Architecture: Introductory Comments

WithJoo-Hwa Bay, Boon-Lay Ong

Why tropical architecture? Critics argue that the term ought not to exist, and that it is perhaps a misnomer or a faux pas. Can any architecture built and inhabited in the tropics not be tropical? Some point out that the phrase, if not the concept, originated during colonial times and is a vestigial legacy of European sovereignty in South East Asia. Not something to be mentioned in polite company. Then there is the problem of political boundaries. Many of us practicing in South East Asia forget that tropical architecture applies also to parts of Australia, Africa and the Americas. On the other hand, the influence of traditional tropical architecture may be seen in Asia as far north as India, China and Japan – countries which are largely not tropical in climate.