Tripitaka Library

Originally published on uncube magazine: More than 50 years after it was built, this Buddhist library building in Yangon in Myanmar, continues to exude the modern aspirations of its early days, while fulfilling its role as a site for traditional, spiritual learning. For Ben Bansal, one of the authors of a new guide to the architecture of Yangon, it is a building that like its American architect, Benjamin Polk, deserves more recognition.

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The front of Tripitaka Library, shortly after its opening in the early 1960s. The landscaped garden, centred around the artificial lake, give the building a more stately impression than today. (Archival photos © Abhinav Publications)

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Yangon review

Manu’s former boss picked up this review of our Yangon guide from the German architectural magazine Bauwelt. The review was written by Wilhelm Klauser, whose website is here. A short translation of the most important points after the jump.

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From our Berlin book launch in September 2015

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Rangoon and Kuala Lumpur urban histories

Below is some work-in-progress on a comparative urban history piece on Kuala Lumpur and Yangon. It is the final section of a term paper that I wrote for my Southeast Asia class. I have never visited Kuala Lumpur, but found reading about it fascinating. Upon talking to my professor, though, I realize that much work remains to be done if I were to take this any further. Here’s me hoping to pick this up once my academic timetable clears up a little bit towards the end of the summer! In the meanwhile, let me know what you think!

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Yangon — Accountant General’s Office (c) Manuel Oka

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Housing the poor in Yangon

How will the 300,000 or so new inhabitants Yangon gains every year live? To conclude a series on slums and the urban poor in Yangon, I wanted to highlight a few items of note I found in a presentation by the Myanmar Ministry of Construction.

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Construction site, Yangon (c) Manuel Oka

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More on Yangon slums

As a follow-up to my post on Yangon’s slums, more browsing reveals the existence of an interesting UN Habitat project. It is called Mapping Yangon. The little information that is available about it confirms some of my earlier suspicions about the state of these informal settlements in Burma’s former capital.

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House on stilts, Dala (c) Manuel Oka

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