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Asian By Design

sculpture somewhere, and people will respond to it,” Jantarachota said. “In Thailand, when there is a political issue, people tend to go to the city center and revolve around these big buildings.” Often times, changes in architecture occur after political changes. In “Critical Reflections on Cities in Southeast Asia,” it said that there is a trend toward more urban forms in order to promote a political push toward development and modernization.

Exploring Asian influences in modern architecture


tion with the Earth as well.”

One of the richest countries in the world, the UAE boasts innovations in engineering and architecture that have continued to surprise people. It is home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, reaching up to almost 3,000 feet

There has been a surge in more minimalistic styles in contemporary architecture, as Japanese influence has impacted the world. Lee-Su Huang, an architecture professor at the Univer-

“I’ve traveled a lot when I was younger, so it really influenced the way I look at the world,” Jantarachota said. “You can see how different cultures like a different style, and people within that community tend to respond to it.”

asian architechture styles create the feeling of being a part of nature while still being inside a building

“It’s all about human connection to the earth,” Jantarachota said. “Everything [about Japanese building aesthetic] is simple and minimal. When I design a space, it’s so open. I’ll think about how wind passes through and the connec-

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—khang truong sity of Florida, said that Japan comes to the forefront of Asian influence in infrastructure partly because of its historical background and timing. “They established their brand — their identity — really early on” Huang said. After World War II, Japan embarked on a rebuilding phase of modernization, when materials, projects and opportunities were abundant. During this time, Japanese students who had studied architecture overseas were returning back to Japan with newer,

As more Japanese architects began to work on projects outside of the country, their influence spread more internationally. Huang said that most famous Japanese architects such as Tadao Ando are more famous abroad than they are domestically. “Architects bring in nature to the building,” Jantarachota said. This is done by merging outdoor and indoor areas together. One way architects do this is through sliding doors and glass structures. While the Western philosophy toward architecture tends to separate the relationship between the outside and inside spaces, Asian architecture styles create the feeling of being a part of nature while still being inside a building, Truong said. Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous 20th century American architect, was significantly influenced by Japanese architecture. Before he was even interested in pursuing it, Wright began collecting Japanese woodblock prints. He had been fascinated with Japanese art, describing it as “intoxicating.”

“In many ways, you can think of buildings as an aggregate of culture norms,” Huang said. “It is a crystallization of a certain time period.”

While most architects at the time mapped ideas using grids or axes, these print artists used organic and geometric modules found in nature and in living forms. Truong said that as these types of styles develop, architects can find a particular style through consistent practice. He said that there is a difference between an architect’s style and language or basic understanding of architecture. “Style is something that is very hard to attain,” Truong said. “Style is not developed until you actually learn the field, and you learn the rules of design.”

design/olivia chen

With her Thai, Mongolian, Russian American background, Jantarachota had a wide scope of cultural influence when approaching her work. Jantarachota said her favorite architecture includes Tadao Ando’s Church of Light and Japanese building aesthetics.

Khang Truong, a 20-year-old junior architecture student at the University of Florida, believes that Japanese architecture is the most influential style in terms of modern design, as it incorporates the idea of unity within nature.

For example in Bandung, Indonesia, the movement from the Dutch-influenced colonial style architecture has progressed into a modernist art-deco style, whereby vibrant colors and geometric shapes dominate. These progressions have helped to promote a more developed city.

cutting-edge ideas of building and design, right when the demand for it was highest.

by ashley tatang

he bare bones of Asia’s buildings enraptured Lily Jantarachota. The 20-year-old architecture junior at the University of Florida traveled to Dubai, which sparked her interest in architecture. She found herself in awe of the city’s towers and buildings.

Aspects of beauty around the world are adapted from Asian cultures, and the influence from someone’s ethnic background can shape their outlook on the world. “Architecture is experiencing the space that is being made around you,” Jantarachota said. Architecture can be seen as physical manifestations of political, economic and military pressure. Looking into different cities, one can infer the social climate of the structure’s time period.

— lily jantarachota Jantarachota said the rise of more design systems and technology has already changed the way architects design. Instead of drawing by hand, many firms will now use computer systems to create their designs. “There are certain cultures where the doors can only face a certain direction, so the architect has to accommodate to that,” Truong said. Now, architects must find a balance between a sort of cosmopolitan hybrid and traditional form while still being innovative. There is always the question of how architects maintain their own style while building someone else’s visions, or while adapting to their rules emerges. With virtual reality simulations, 3D printers and robotic construction, the future is bright for budding architects. Time can only tell where they will find inspiration in the different aspects of beauty around them.

“Architecture is really powerful because you can put a

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Profile for Sparks Magazine

Sparks Magazine Issue No. 15 | University of Central Florida  

Sparks Magazine Issue No. 15 | University of Central Florida