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What is Vernacular Architecture? | ArchDaily

Vernacular architecture can be defined as a type of local or regional construction, using traditional materials and resources from the area where the building is located.

Primary School Tanouan Ibi, Mali. Image Courtesy of LEVS Architecten
Primary School Tanouan Ibi, Mali. Image Courtesy of LEVS Architecten

Written by | Translated by Tarsila Duduch

Consequently, this architecture is closely related to its context and is aware of the specific geographic features and cultural aspects of its surroundings, being strongly influenced by them. For this reason, they are unique to different places in the world, becoming even a means of reaffirming an identity.

Given such unique features, the definition of vernacular architecture may become somewhat unclear. Driven by this dilemma, Paul Oliver writes about the need for a more refined definition of the term in his book Built to Meet Needs: Cultural Issues in Vernacular Architecture (2006), part of a project entitled Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World. His research has led to the definition of vernacular architecture as an architecture that encompasses the peoples’ dwellings and other constructions, relating to their respective environments and resources, usually built by the owners or the community, using traditional techniques. It is built to meet specific needs, accommodate the values, economy, and lifestyles of a specific culture.

Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali. Image © Wikimedia user Ruud Zwart licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 NL
Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali. Image © Wikimedia user Ruud Zwart licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 NL

Following this definition, Rubenilson Brazão Teixeira (2017) singles out two major attributes associated with vernacular architecture: tradition and contextualization. He states that every vernacular architecture is traditional in the sense that it originates from specific ethnic groups and is a result of a long process over time, always based on familiar forms established by previous generations. Besides that, as already mentioned, vernacular architecture also respects local conditions, highlighting its great sensitivity to the geographical context of the surroundings, including climate, vegetation, and topography.

Rwanda - Building Interior. Image © Larsen Payá
Rwanda – Building Interior. Image © Larsen Payá

Read on >>>> Source: What is Vernacular Architecture? | ArchDaily

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