Cross Cultural Modes of Design: Designing Elsewhere and Elsewhere in China

The Cross-Cultural Modes of Design (CCMD), is a research-based architectural and urban design approach developed at the University of California, Berkeley which builds upon Berkeley’s legacy of cultural sensibility and political awareness. The globalization of architectural and planning practices at the end of the 20th century has created opportunities for practitioners to design elsewhere but with these new opportunities came the challenges associated with designing from a distance and without full knowledge of the peoples, cultures, and clients for whom one is designing.  CCMD advocates a strategy that is based on understanding the cultural and context of a host country by attempting to respect its indigenous settings, climate, local materials, building and construction traditions, and urban rituals while simultaneously allowing the foreign architect or the client, who are technically guests, an opportunity not to shy away from their own professional or cultural identity.

The Studio will deal with two projects, both architectural but within a dense urban context. The first is a competition for a multi-purpose function in the historic core of Lisbon, Portugal. This will allow us to tackle the idea of designing elsewhere and for someone else. The second project will be a Consulate building in a major Chinese city of a selected guest country. Options will include one country from each of the Middle East, Africa or Latin America in which China has major assets. This is to ensure an encounter between the two cultures requiring both an articulated position and a commensurate resolution. This will allow us to fully examine the idea of elsewhere in China.