SAHARA Travel Fellowship Report
Building Siam: the People’s Party and Modern Architecture in Thailand
Lawrence Chua, Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian Studies at Hamilton College
The sites photographed in this collection of images represent a period in which Southeast Asian architecture sought to reconcile the global currents of modernism with the local political assertions of nationalism. In 1932, a coalition of military and civilian elites overthrew the absolute power of the Siamese monarchy.The Khana Ratsadon คณะราษฎร or People’s Party, as the revolutionary party called themselves, undertook the transformation of the country into a modern democratic nation-state and prioritized purging Thai architecture of its royalist symbolism and hierarchical spatial organization.
While it did not develop in a vacuum, the architecture of the People’s Party did not participate in a conversation with European modern architecture as either an equal partner or as a slavish admirer. Despite its political and aesthetic relationships with the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (some of its architects, like Mom Luang Samaichaloem Kridakon, studied there), Italian colonial architecture (many of its architects, like Phra Phrombhichitr, apprenticed under Italian architects working in Bangkok and one of the chief artists of the period, Silpa Bhirasri, began life as Corrado Feroci in Firenze), and European fascism (People’s Party pundits like Luang Wichit Wathakan lionized Mussolini), the architecture of the People’s Party betrays a more complex history than a narrative of imitation allows. Read more
Applications are now being accepted for the Edilia and François-Auguste de Montêquin Fellowship. The 2013 award will be for a junior scholar. Applications are due by September 28th, 2012.
Applications are also being accepted for the Scott Opler Membership Grant for Emerging Professionals which awards a one year membership in SAH to an emerging professional. Applications are due September 14th, 2012.
The 2012-2013 ACLS Competitions are now open. Visit the ACLS website for details.
|Pecha Kucha Night Chicago, Volume SAH: "When Less is More" |
SAH hosted a Pecha Kucha at the Charnley-Persky House in July where eight speakers were invited to present on the theme "Less is More" in the PK format - 20 slides, 20 seconds each. Presenters included: Lynn Becker, Stacy Hand, Brandon Horn, Scott Rappe, Steve Fuchs, Iker Gil, Steve Droll & Kevin Snook, Lauren Silvers, Patricia Natke, and one of PK's founders Mark Dytham. Photos are now up on the SAH Facebook page.
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