Following the voyage of Semester at Sea in spring 2014, we shall discuss the architecture of the major countries on the itinerary. Lectures are illustrated with images showing the important and representative buildings of the countries along our route.
After Hawaii, the voyage goes to East Asia where Chinese and Japanese architecture developed in a way quite different from western forms. Cultural and philosophical background will be introduced to explain why monumental architecture assumed various shapes. Gardens and various modern landmarks are also to be included for understanding the port cities.
Southeast Asia has preserved many world-famous monuments. For example, Angkor Wat, an architectural wonder located in Cambodia, is accessible by traveling through southern Vietnam. The gilded stupa in central Yangon rises 320 feet from its marble platform. While in later times, French designers combined indigenous features in Vietnam, to create a hybrid form of colonial architecture. Singapore, a city state, reveals more influence from the UK.
India has its unique tradition. Two types of monuments are especially magnificent. The Taj Mahal in Agra, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. Scattered in all parts of India, Hindu temples are highly decorative. Many temples are holy spots. The long period of British dominance left behind an array of modern buildings, such as museums, banks, etc., in large cities. Before the British, the Portuguese first explored west coastal area like Goa, where some Catholic churches can be dated to 17th century.
African architecture is diverse in forms. The 2014 voyage goes around the south, west, and north of Africa. While indigenous architecture appears mostly in villages, architecture in urban areas reflects western influences in many ways, and in many forms. Some buildings in South Africa tell stories of European colonialism, whereas the contemporary architecture follows more in forms from America.
Field WorkCountry: Myanmar (Burma)
Day: 2 - Rangoon - 28 February