Pacific meets West at architecture symposium

An architecture symposium aiming to bridge the gap in indigenous and western knowledge took place in Samoa this month, with support from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

Le Va Talanoa

Le Va Talanoa: The Return to the Fale was the first ever hands-on Architecture Symposium in Samoa. The talanoa (workshop) was open to students, professionals, academics and general public. It provided an open and welcoming forum to discuss the past, present and future of Samoan architecture.

Its main aim was to bridge the gaps in generational indigenous knowledge that exist in the Pacific. Speakers included Tufuga Faufale (master traditional builders), who explained ancestral, nail-free building techniques.

The National Commission minor grant funding went towards enabling 14 UNITEC students of Samoan descent studying architecture in New Zealand to participate. Ten construction students from the National University of Samoa also attended.

The theme was ‘Past, Present and Future’. The talanoa focused on sustainable development and climate change. It looked at the role of architecture in finding innovative solutions whilst retaining cultural traditions.

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