- Name: Anupa Ranasinghe
- Year: 2019
- Studio: Level V
- University: University of Moratuwa
Culture as a Social Catalyst
“Culture embraces complex ways of living, value systems, traditions, beliefs and habits; including knowledge, morals, law and customs, acquired by those within that Society. These provide for a set of ‘cultural objects’, which symbolize a shared schematic experience, and which we recognize as having cultural value.”
(Report, 2011) Turkish culture
- Architectural style
- Social standards
“The future of architecture is culture” (Philip Johnson)
Religious culture has interrelationship with architecture. Sometimes architecture creates specific cultures. And also, culture creates architecture too.
This phenomenon happens in most of the places in Sri Lanka (Kandy, Nallur, Katharagama dewalaya, Sripadaya and Galle fort are exmplea). The specific cultures related to religion create these kinds of spaces and buildings. People form a separate culture according to the context which is spiritual while forming a way to uplift their income. These can be considered as community catalysts.
This Way of living (culture) creates with architecture. This all places have a strategy to develop their lifestyles and income level because of this architecture. They have different specific lifestyle related to their culture. Even some areas in Sri Lanka has opportunity to improve community life, it is not used as an effective strategy. This project is based on this problem, creating strategy for such places which has opportunity.
Need of the Project
Most of people don’t have skill to develop their income level. Lot of people in Madhu area is refugees from civil war. So, most of the people don’t have a proper education and skill. Their main income is labor work and small number of people has permanent jobs also some live by selling vegetables and fruits along the road from harvest of their own gardens. But they don’t have sufficient skills to do innovative work and to uplift their lifestyle. There is a high potential to develop their life style and income level with the Madhu church and its related culture.
As a solution, the proposal is to develop a ‘COMMUNITY EMPOWERING CENTER’ with proper entrance to Madhu church area.
In Madhu area most of the people have self-image with their life style. Social levels create distances and categorization, among people with same community level, same religious group, villagers, same job state, edging groups etc. This difference increases various kinds of problems and also unbalanced situations in society. Most of the people are doing different things separately, which means individually.
Identified problems or issues relating to the project /site
People say that present-day Madhu is more reliable than the past. Which means society feels a huge difference between the past war period and now. Before the war Madhu people had a strongly developed society influenced by great history. And people were also self-sufficient. But from the war people displaced their houses and then became refugees.
After a deep study about the project with selected site area, there are few problems to be addressed.
- Lack of interaction among groups, residence, villagers and age groups also according to their different backgrounds
- Lack of facilities according to the number of visitors (proper washrooms, accommodation, food, and beverages)
- Reduction of public service during off season, but there is a demand all over the year
- Lack of skilled labor force
- Lack of education
- The church did not maintain a proper entrance
Primary user: The Government of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL) military offensive in the Mannar District has caused a series of displacements of civilians from the areas of Pandivirichchaan, Adampan, Andankulam and other areas starting on August 25, 2007. The IDPs sought refuge in Madhu, Thatchinamadhu, Periyamadhu, Pallamadhu, Kooraai, Kalliyadi, Illuppaikadavai, Vellankumam, Thevanpiddy and other divisions within the Mannar District. Other refugees have displaced to Vavuniya North, Mullankavil (Kilinochchi District), and Mullaitivu District.
After the few years they moved again to their own areas and lived with different employments. Among this most of the people are doing labor work and selling different goods (vegetable, fruits, seeds, honey) along the road. and the villagers said few people are doing permanent jobs and most of the people are doing labor work.
Secondary user: Madhu is not a holy site for exclusive catholic use. It is equally sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and non-Catholic Christians. A large number of lay people gather to the annual feast of Madhu church in Mannar. During the festival season thousands of devotees camp out in the nearby jungle during the festival seasons. It’s an important point to interact with the local population. After a period of about 30 years of war the area is once more open to tourist. So, the church is able to create some inheritable culture and life style.
The worshipers come everyday to the church and approximately 15000 of devotees come to the week end holly mass and 4 lacks of people come to the feast which is held on July and 6 lacks of people come to the August and October feasts. They come from different areas like Jaffna, Negambo, Wennappuwa, Pamunugama, Bopitiya, Ja-ela, Seeduwa, Waththala, Mannar.
People who come to the feast days stay around the Madhu church premises 9 days earlier. Some stay at the rentable houses and some stay in tents. Most of them stay in tents because of rentable houses are not enough for the crowd. Some people who stay in the tents like it because it is a different experience with their daily life style. But some people like to stay in rentable houses but with the crowd they don’t have opportunity to get a rentable house because they stay at the tents. Most of the people use rentable houses because of safety and privacy.
Text description provided by the project author.