Shwe Zi Gon stupa in Bagan, Myanmar | Duende by Madam ZoZo

Exploring through architecture

Architecture is a very palpable way to look back at the history of a destination and can be a crystal ball with which to see into its future. A streetscape can be a time capsule chronicling growth and change throughout time. Much can be read in the walls and rooftops, doorways and windows of a city. Politics, religion, economy and trends are all documented in post and lintel. Architectural styles tell us about a city’s jubilant peaks, full of hope; dilapidation and abandonment mark the devastating lows and defeat; while urban renewal signals rebirth and optimism.

Behind the facade

Duende highlights the most interesting built environments around the world and gets to know the stories behind the grand facades. You will even find a little architecture 101 set out in layman’s terms for the traveller who wants to go a little deeper. Duende catalogues the architectural masterpieces and engineering feats discovered by Madam ZoZo on her travels. Structures range from the ancient ruins of Buddhist temples to contemporary city skylines; historic monuments to landmark bridges. Not to mention some personal stories about her relationships with some very special structures.

“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves” – Julia Morgan, architect

Buddhist Architecture 101: What is a Pagoda

Don’t you hate it when you get your pagodas crossed with your dagobas?! Well maybe not, but if you’re travelling through East Asia you’ll hear a lot of confusing references and generalised terms when it comes to Buddhist religious buildings. The Buddhist Architecture 101 Series is here to help you sort through the semantics of […]

Buddhist Architecture 101 Part 2: Stupa

In Buddhist Architecture 101: What is a Pagoda?, I mentioned that pagodas evolved from the stupas of ancient Nepal.  In Part 2, I elaborate a little on the interesting history, purpose and symbolism of stupas, and how they have evolved over time.

Buddhist Architecture 101 Part 3: Wat or Not?

In Part 1 of Buddhist Architecture 101, I defined the purpose of a pagoda; in Part 2 I elaborated on the significance of stupas. Part 3 will delve into the wat. A wat is a complex that combines a number of important religious buildings. These include a monks residence, a stupa, a building for a large image of Buddha known […]

Hot Spots for Colonial Architecture in Southeast Asia

There is nothing like tropical colonial architecture to inspire the feeling of being in an exotic seaside locale, yet with all the luxuries of home. Southeast Asia has historically fallen under the influence of a variety of colonial powers. Here are four locations you can view the best of European colonialists’ architectural legacy in Southeast […]

My First Love Was A Bridge

I was born in Sydney, Australia and spent my first five years growing up in the city. During that time I met my first love – the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was obsessed with the Harbour Bridge the way most toddlers won’t go anywhere without their favourite toy or insist on listening to the same song on repeat. My mum […]

Crescent City Time Machine – New Orleans Architectural Tour

No DeLorean required. Just walk the Crescent City streets and you’ll probably utter the rhetorical “if these walls could talk.” So much is spoken through the variety of New Orleans architecture, yet there are many more stories behind each front door.