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A Christian Buddha | Books and Culture
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List of Penguin Classics
Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Book Format: Choose an option. Add to Cart. Product Highlights Despite the king's precautions, the hermit Barlaam comes to Josaphat and begins to teach the prince Christian beliefs through parables. Josaphat converts to Christianity, angering his father, who tries to win his son back to his religion before he, too, converts.
After his father's death, Josaphat renounces the world and lives as a hermit in the wilderness with his teacher Barlaam. An extraordinary episode on its own, it takes on greater meaning when we factor in the note he penned in the early hours of the morning of his final flight. When my wife showed me an anthologised version of this note, I was in the middle of writing my dissertation.
So here we are on the Gold Coast Fig. How does understanding what happened here help us to understand what has happened in similar situations elsewhere? And what structural issues does the Gold Coast and situations like it present to architecture as a field of knowledge and practice?
I risk confusing physics and metaphysics with this mixed sense of the moment. The point, however, remains that while there is evidently work to be done in documenting and setting in order the events and episodes that have together shaped the Gold Coast of the present, we should also feel obliged to keep an eye on those instances in which we need, as it were, to throw history books at the city.
The city is also a metaphor for the bastions of ideas and abstractions maintained out of habit, and in this sense the Gold Coast presents a powerful foil against which to view the assumptions we are inclined to make about architecture when we think of it at all. The Gold Coast, Photo by John Gollings.
Reproduced with permission of the photographer. There is much to commend the pioneering responsibilities and anthropological analogies that are bound up in my being, I think, the first architectural historian ever to open up shop there.
- Barlaam and Josaphat: A Christian Tale of the Buddha (Penguin Classics).
- Om Barlaam and Josaphat.
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The first was a special issue of the official journal of the then Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Architecture in Australia , published in to coincide both with the Gold Coast receiving its charter and with the Queensland centenary. There was much to recommend the Gold Coast, wrote several of the critics who contributed to the special issue of Architecture in Australia. But nobody would want to live with it. These documents pull the Gold Coast apart in the mode of an autopsy. The Gold Coast is what happens when Australian architecture takes its eye off the ball.
When Sydneysider Neville Gruzman met with criticism the first exhibition of entries to the Gold Coast Architecture Awards in , he played into a trope that had already been well established. His suggestion, as reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin , was that the architects of Sydney would be doing Australia a favour by heading north in bulldozers and pushing the city into the surf.
One looked at the Gold Coast with an eye trained to the dangers to Australian architecture that it represented. Whatever was happening there was at odds with the values habitually seen elsewhere in Australia as a practice variously informed by a meaningful landscape, a larrikin intellectualism and the craft of building. The Gold Coast was a postmodern city haunted by the image of postmodernism more Jameson than Jencks By the time the Gold Coast Division of the RAIA was established in there were still only a dozen or so architects in residence here, many of them running local offices for firms based in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney in order to supervise the construction of towers or resorts.
By the end of that decade the population was a sixth of its current size and the number of architects had doubled.
The problem of the architecture that made the Gold Coast infamous, though, is much less than of architects without architecture. We have all the tools we need to study the architects and their work, the builders and their buildings, the developers and their visions, realised or otherwise. We can head to the archives to better assess the agents of growth and development and the circumstances that allowed things to happen at the speeds that they did — and to study those later documents that regard this defining moment of construction and destruction with nostalgia.
We can visit buildings, study drawings and talk to designers and inhabitants. But we are left with the question of what architecture is in this setting, and what, consequently, it does here. The postmodern moment has already done away with the distinctions we once made between high and low, origins and imitations, that would help us on our way, and there are a suite of studies from the s onwards that offer some clues as to how to proceed.
We should remain wary of finding models in the treatment of more famous cases, but perhaps a new book by French sociologist Henri Lefebvre will push things along in an interesting direction. The high-rises of these cities are hotels and apartment blocks rather than corporate headquarters, their permanent populations oriented towards the various service industries that keep afloat an economy built on permanent transience. We could indeed read the Gold Coast against these themes, adding it to an international suite of cities measured against the questionable success of Miami Beach, Honolulu and Acapulco: cities and territories famous for their brash development logic and poor grasp of architectural quality that nonetheless proffer settings in which to set aside the rigours of the working year.
It remains to history, though, to test the substance of this past, and to hold the present accountable for the values it finds therein. Moorhouse extends this idea to the city entire. Here, in the end, is our subject: the negotiation of ideas and reality, of intentions and their consequences. Gold Coast, by Milo Dunphy. Reprinted from Architecture in Australia January-March In a preface to the second edition of NB preface unpaginated.
What kind of critical distance do we need to bridge the representational distance between what actually happened and what we think happened here? And what is its substance? Is it a shield that prevents us from gaining clarity over the effects of past decisions and actions over the present?
Or a lens that comforts us with images of the simpler life? And so the job remains to write the volumes that might yet be thrown down on Surfers. It will give the beach goers something to read and it might wake from their reverie those for whom the image of the city and the image of criticality are enough.
He also directs his reader to an early definitive reading of the tympanum by Adolphe Duchalais See Stanek , xxxiv. Anon May 8 May 11 Banham, R Los Angeles: University of California Press. Bloch, M Paris: Colin. Collingwood, Vic. Boyd, R The Australian Ugliness. Melbourne: Cheshire.