Pacific Space The Pacific Conception of Building

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Bill Mckay
Antonia Walmsley


In the West, architecture, landscape and interior are seen as separate disciplines, with the latter two subordinate to architecture’s concern with object, form and structure. This paper explores the extent to which buildings of the Pacific subvert this Western model using the examples of a Maori dwelling made from raupo reed, the Maori Meeting House (or whare nui) and the Pacific Island fale?.

We review certain Pacific indigenous buildings, not in terms of architecture, but through looking at the garment and the body. It is doubtful if the people of the Pacific share the Western notion of architecture as something separate from craft, art, ornament, interior, landscape or other European notions, and we suggest that the disciplines of interior and landscape design can be useful in exploring the concepts on which building in the Pacific are based.

This paper proposes an understanding of architecture more appropriate to a South Pacific milieu, which in turn can open up the possibilities of new architectural form.

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How to Cite
Mckay, Bill, and Antonia Walmsley. 2024. “Pacific Space: The Pacific Conception of Building”. idea journal 6 (1):61-71.
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