WSP Opus Samoa Taken by Carinnya for Symposium Blog

6 September 2018 Kate Palmer

 It’s hoped that emerging Pacific Island architectural talent will find a deep connection to their culture during a three-day immersive workshop later this month.

That’s certainly the outcome organiser Carinnya Feaunati, WSP Opus Architectural Graduate is hoping for.

“Cultural changes in the Pacific mean there is a real risk of losing knowledge around traditional design as there isn’t the younger generation willing to learn the skills and craft. By introducing Pacific architectural students, who are informal training, to traditional learning we can start to bridge the gap of generational knowledge,” she says.

Earlier this year Carinnya secured funding from the US Embassy in Canberra after her proposal to run the first Samoan Architecture Talanoa (Workshop) was accepted.

The Talanoa will see 14 students from Unitec travel to Samoa to participate in a three-day symposium which includes workshops with Tufuga Faufale (traditional master carpenters), insights into climate change, and impact on the built environment.

“This Talanoa isn't about churning out future architects to keep designing with distinctive pacific typologies. We’re looking to foster a cross-cultural and generational movement that will see future Pacific architects and designers rooted in their cultural origins, whether they are designing a future Fale Samoa or the next Eiffel Tower.”

Carinnya expects the impact of attending the Talanoa to be long-term for attendees but has also factored in a more immediate outcome. Those participating in the workshop will be collaborating on the design for a Malumalu to be built in the village of Poutasi.

“Malumalu signify places of social, cultural and spiritual significance. In pre-colonial times, they were used to honour war gods and since then this honour has been transferred to the church. In this case, the Malumalu will memorise the impacts of the 2009 earthquake and tsunami on Poutasi, with the design acknowledging the disaster’s influence on the local culture and way of life.”

Carinnya says local experts are excited about the opportunity to share their knowledge of Samoan architecture with the visiting students. 

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