Making of the Pacific Mall: Chinese Identity and Architecture in Toronto

The Pacific Mall in Markham, a major city next to Toronto, Canada, raises a very intriguing question.  Under what circumstances has the mall become an ethnic icon that signifies the “Chinese mall” in Canada, possibly in North America?  An analysis of the intertwining relation between ethnic identity and architecture sheds light on the (re)construction and (re)interpretation of “Chineseness” in the mall.  The naming of the corridors, and the unusual small size of the shops on first floor, and the design of the Heritage Town on the second floor evoke nostalgic emotion of Hong Kong, an essentialist sentiment to many Hong Kong immigrants and stereotypical images to many non-Chinese and Chinese alike.

Leung, Ho Hon and Raymond Lau.  (2009) “Making of Pacific Mall: Chinese Identity through Architecture in Canada.” in Imagining Globalization: Language, Identities, and Boundaries, edited by Ho Hon Leung et alNew York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.


White Stone Houses in Greece

The originality of houses in Mykonos is a result of massive scale of deforestation dated back to Alexander the Great.  Retaining rain water becomes an issue on some islands.  The rimed roof works as container to collect rain.  The unique style of the houses becomes the local place-identity.

The transformation of many Greek houses into whitewashed units is more than just aesthetic appeal.  The construction material in Poros makes good use of the black lava in the old days.  Imagine what happens after dusk and electricity was not widely available yet.


Wan Chai Urban Renewal Project

Wan Chai is one of the oldest districts in Hong Kong.  In the process of revitalization of the area, luxurious apartment buildings are replacing the old ones.  But what should be done to balance between preservation of the local culture and gentrification?  What does demolition of the rare Bauhaus style indoor market in Asia indicate the appropriateness of urban renewal policies?