Lecture 11. Copies: Cultural Takes On Originality

This lecture will address issues surrounding architectural mimicry, and the roles this approach to structural form plays in reimagining heritage, tradition, and authenticity. It also provokes discussions concerning the idea of architectural heritage as not only unique and one-of-a-kind, but also fundamentally place-based with its originality fundamentally embedded in a specific time / place matrix as a requirement for the establishment of what might be considered the “genuine” or “legitimate.” Through case studies of Las Vegas and the Egyptian Revivalist impetus behind structures like the Luxor resort and Casino, and of China’s current “duplitecture” trend, this module will explore the twenty-first century redefinition of terms such as tradition, heritage, and cultural reference towards bringing home the reality that tradition, heritage, and authenticity are largely constructed “fantas[ies] of our own creation whose true value lies in its consumption.” It will also address whether or not these mimics constitute a new history and a new heritage based on culture- and context-specific ideas of authenticity and ownership.

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