Papua New Guinea’s concrete haus tambaran
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The National Parliament building in Papua New Guinea (PNG), formally opened in 1984, raises a number of intriguing questions about the architectural representation of political power and the role played by government buildings in the development and consolidation of a viable national identity for a new state, independent only since 1975. The design by the architect Cecil Hogan marks a clear attempt to move beyond the bland internationalism of much of the postcolonial urban built environment (6.1, 6.2). While seeking an architectural expression that was somehow modern and thus in keeping with the overall development of the country, he tried to use vernacular building traditions to mold an identity for the state. At a time when most less-developed countries relied on eminent foreign-based architects to fly in and bestow a design conception upon the country, the leaders in PNG insisted upon at least a quasi-indigenous solution: Hogan, an Australian expatriate, was director of the architecture division of the Department of Works and Supply in the PNG capital city of Port Moresby.