A TALE OF TWO CITIES:

CROSS CULTURAL NARRATIVES IN ARCHITECTURE FROM MANILA AND WINNIPEG

AN ARCHITECTURAL STORY BOOK

The exploration would delve into how narrative in architecture both reflect and foster the realm that built environments are situated in, and how narratives in place-making from varying cultures exhibit shared themes and essence. Narrative in architecture in this study is explored as the progression of experiences and phenomena one encounters in an architectural work, and also the presence of religious, historical, political, social and environmental narrators embedded into places, buildings and cities. 

 

The study would look into episodes of place making through the perspective of Manila in the Philippines and Winnipeg in Canada. Manila is a city rich in narratives of place-making with its transformation from an Islamic kingdom prior to the Hispanic occupation (13th Century – 16th Century) to a walled city for the proliferation of Spanish culture and commerce (1570 – 1898), to a battle ground during the Second World War (1944-45), and to currently being the capital of the Philippines. Manila and its surrounding metropolitan area are a setting for everyday life for almost 21 million inhabitants and is considered as the most densely populated city in the world. For many Filipino emigrants, Manila also becomes a last frontier before reaching their new places of destination overseas. Narratives in Manila could include the confluence of myth and the natural realm in precolonial Philippines, syncretism in Filipino Spanish colonial architecture, the influence of American colonialism manifested by the City Beautiful Movement, the use of modernist and brutalist architecture to promote the fascist regime of Ferdinand Marcos in Post-World War II Manila, and the ad hoc world-building in the slums of contemporary Manila. These stories would then be juxtaposed with parallel narratives coming from the historical and current city of Winnipeg. 

 

This probe would explore how the confluence and collisions of the narratives from both cities create new meaning and inspire an envisioning for a hybrid place-making for the Filipino community of Winnipeg who currently occupy the largest immigrant population of Filipinos in Canada. For many migrant people, place-making lies in a liminal condition of integrating into the narratives of their new place of destination while relentlessly rekindling the narratives from their places of origin.[1] With their physical movement through geographical boundaries, a metaphorical movement also occurs while traversing through socio-cultural boundaries when they bring their own narratives and perception of placemaking.[2] The findings and the materials generated from this research would inform greatly the development of a thesis inquiry for Reifying Filipino Identity in the Socio-cultural Landscape of Canada through a Museum of Filipino Culture and Immigration in Winnipeg.

 

[1] Thomas Faist, “Transnationalization in International Migration: Implications for the Study of Citizenship and Culture,” Ethnic and racial studies 23, no. 2 (January 2000): 189–222, quotedin Danielle Allard and Nadia Caidi, “Imagining Winnipeg: The Translocal Meaning Making of Filipino Migrants to Canada,” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 69, no. 10 (October 2018): 1193.  

 

[2] Andrew Dawson and Mark Johnson. “Migration, Exile, and Landscape of Imagination.” Essay. In Drifting: Architecture and Migrancy, edited by Stephen Cairns. (London: Routledge, 2004): 8.

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