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Vernacular: The Latest Architecture and News

Architecture's Vernacular In A Post-COVID-19 World

As the Great Philosopher, Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.  

The COVID-19 pandemic will deeply impact the world of aesthetics. For the first time since League of Nations was founded, a future of universal aesthetics may cease to be the academically sanctioned Architectural Canon. As Markus Breitschmid defines it, in his article “In Defense of the Validity of the 'Canon' in Architecture,” the Canon in Architecture is a way to divorce architecture from the rest of the world:

Mexico. Photograph courtesy of House + House ArchitectsOklahoma. Photo courtesy of Clay ChapmanTexas © William AbranowiczRhode Island, Estes Twombly Architects, © Warren Jagger+ 11

Contemporary Angola: Technology and Identity in 4 Projects

Angola, like many African countries, is experiencing a process of rapid urbanization. For the most part, these changes are happening under little to no regulation, filling cities with spaces that lack the infrastructure to provide a basic quality of life for residents. However, in spite of this unregulated development, it's worth noting the quality of contemporary architecture being produced in the second-largest Portuguese-speaking country, where projects draw inspiration from the strong local identity and blend with modern materials and technology.

In this article, we highlight 4 current projects in Angola. While it is a small sample, not only from the capital city of Luanda, but from smaller cities as well, it showcases the richness of Angola's local architecture--an art form that deserves worldwide recognition.

Modern Morocco: Building a New Vernacular

Modern Moroccan architecture is reinterpreting vernacular traditions. Taking its name from the Arabic al-maġhrib, or the “place the sun sets; the west”, the kingdom is a sovereign state home to numerous examples of Islamic design, as well as detailed art and ornamentation found within geometric patterns, friezes and open courtyards.

© Fernando Guerra, FG+SG© Luc Boegly© Fernando Guerra, FG+SG© Doublespace Photography+ 12

Brazilian Houses: 9 Examples of Residential Vernacular Architecture

Wattle and daub house. Image © Pedro Levorin
Wattle and daub house. Image © Pedro Levorin

The regional expressions of a country’s culture are vital in helping us understand the relation between context and specific conditions of social manifestations. These nuances and singularities inside the realm of construction are translated into what can be called vernacular architecture. Although it has always existed, this universe of local exemplars of architecture with their particular materials, techniques and regional constructive solutions came to be well studied in the second half of the twentieth century in Brazil, in a project that traced national architecture history, headed by Lucio Costa.

Call for Submissions: "Vernacular" — Paprika! Volume 4, Issue 6

In the spirit of Virgil Abloh we put quotation marks around the word "vernacular." Then we replace the word with a blank and ask you to fill it in. What do they build with where you're from? What do indigenous houses look like? What methods do they prefer and who actually uses them? This issue of Paprika!, a weekly journal at the Yale School of Architecture, will probe the architectural vernacular, a concept increasingly in vogue but equally undefined.

We invite all essays and comments that reevaluate the “vernacular" in contemporary design, encouraging specific examples where possible. We also invite

Habitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our planet. There has never been a more important time to understand how to make the best use of local natural resources and to produce buildings that connect to ecosystems and livelihoods and do not rely on stripping the environment or transporting materials across the globe.

The culmination of years of specialist research, Habitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet, a once-in-a-generation large format publication, gathers together an international team of more than one hundred leading experts across a diverse range of disciplines to examine what the traditions of vernacular architecture and its

Winners of 2018 VEX Competition Reimagine Vernacular Architecture and Design

The Association of Siamese Architects (ASA) has announced the winners of the 2018 VEX: Agitated Vernacular Competition. This year’s ASA International Design Competition aimed to "upend the typical associations of vernacular architecture and design," what vernacular should or should not be. The goal was to re-think vernacular as something that can "assume performative roles and possess generative potentials."

The winning designs challenge the notion that vernacular design is opposed to modernity, thus it is "static and unimprovable," and opposed to technology. Selected from over 230 applications from nearly 30 countries worldwide, the six winning projects are from The Netherlands, India, China, Poland, and Thailand.

Is This the Most Beautiful Ghost Town Ever? Drone Video Captures Chinese Village Reclaimed by Nature

As the shadows of the past loom around what’s left of the overgrown houses and pathways, videographer Joe Nafis has perfectly captured the rare charm of the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan using his drone. From above, you can appreciate the extent of the foliage carpeting the walls, roofs, and openings. It was the promise of this unlikely setting that first led Nafis to visit the village as part of a fashion shoot.

© Joe Nafis© Joe Nafis© Joe Nafis© Joe Nafis+ 25

How Schools in Africa Can Benefit From Clever Design and Mango Trees

Many children in Africa are forced to bear the brunt of attending schools with poor ventilation that can easily overheat under the African sun. WAYAiR’s proposal for a new school in Ulyankulu tackles the climate issue and provide an “educational village” respecting the local heritage and identity of the town. WAYAiR is a group of like-minded educators that for the last 25 years have developed their unique school program in Poznan, Poland using an art based educational program and now wish to share their expertise worldwide.

Courtesy of WAYAiR FoundationCourtesy of WAYAiR FoundationCourtesy of WAYAiR FoundationCourtesy of WAYAiR Foundation+ 16

Where Roofs and Streets Become One: Iran’s Historic Village of Masuleh

More than a thousand meters above sea level on the slopes of the Alborz mountain range in Gilan, northern Iran, a remarkable village dating back to 1006 AD bustles with life. The unique ochre-brown structures of Masuleh follow the slope of the mountain that the village nestles on—or rather, grows from—giving the village its most unusual quality: the roofs of many of the houses connect directly to, or even form a part of, the street serving the houses above.

© <a href='http://www.panoramio.com/photo/106899133'>Panoramio user alireza javaheri</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY 3.0</a>© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/mehrab1131/5793306272/'>Wikimedia user Mehrab Pourfaraj</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>© <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Masouleh.jpg'>Wikimedia user Hoomanb</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/deed.en'>CC BY 2.5</a>© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunriseodyssey/16441070029/'>Flickr user sunriseodyssey</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>+ 13

The Origins of Half-Timbering: 2000 Years of Non-Stop Nostalgia

Sam Jacob Studio harbours a long-held fascination with Half-Timbering. In this essay, Jacob examines the historical, cultural, and aesthetic roots of the style.

It’s fair to say that “Mock Tudor”—that black and white facade treatment—has a less than glowing reputation. Take these sneering lines from John Betjeman’s Slough, for instance:

It’s not their fault they often go / To Maidenhead / And talk of sports and makes of cars / In various bogus Tudor bars.

(Perhaps those very same bars that Martin Freeman’s character in The Office notes have “a sign in the toilet saying: Don’t get your Hampton Court”.) “Mock Tudor” is often accused of “bogus”-ness, of lacking authenticity, of fakeness, and many other types of architectural sin.

"Moe's Tavern" from "The Simpsons". Image via "The Simpsons" / FandomLittle Moreton Hall, England. © <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Moreton_Hall#/media/File:LittleMoretonHall.jpg">Wikimedia Commons user Christine-Ann Martin</a> licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC BY 3.0</a>. Image Courtesy of Christine-Ann MartinAnne Hathaway's Cottage, England. © <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_architecture#/media/File:Anne_Hathaways_Cottage_1_(5662418953).jpg">Wikimedia Commons user Tony Hisgett</a> licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image Courtesy of Tony HisgettDeath of Harold (detail from the Bayeux Tapestry). © <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bayeux_Tapestry_scene57_Harold_death.jpg">Wikimedia Commons user Myrabella</a> available in the Public Domain. Image Courtesy of Myrabella+ 6

11 Vernacular Building Techniques That Are Disappearing

"Vernacular architecture can be said to be 'the architectural language of the people' with its ethnic, regional and local 'dialects,'" writes Paul Oliver, author of The Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of The World’. Unfortunately, there has been a growing disregard for traditional architectural language around the world due to modern building technology quickly spreading a “loss of identity and cultural vibrancy” through what the Architectural Review recently described as “a global pandemic of generic buildings.” People have come to see steel, concrete and glass as architecture of high quality, whereas a lot of vernacular methods including adobe, reed or peat moss are often associated with underdevelopment. Ironically, these local methods are far more sustainable and contextually aware than much contemporary architecture seen today, despite ongoing talks and debates about the importance of sustainability. As a result of these trends, a tremendous amount of architectural and cultural knowledge is being lost.

© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/34501870@N00/7344205654'>Flickr user Ashwin Kumar</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/2849255440'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrispark1957/4858624932/'>Flickr user chrispark1957</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarah_c_murray/4846710439'>Flickr user sarah_c_murray</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>+ 12

2017 Biennial TRIKONA Conference: VERNACULAR

TRIKONA is a biennial multicultural event organised at MIDAS Architecture College located in a sprawling 600 acres township. The three days conference and sports cum cultural gala event is organised from 03 to 05 March 2017 with 2500 participants from all over India and aboard.

Title of the Conference: VERNACULAR

Date: 03-04 March 2017

Venue: ECR, Swarnabhoomi, Kancheepuram District, TN-INDIA

Vernacular means native – it defines the soul of any environment, culture, architecture, language, cuisine, and life-style. It is a common identity of the place which will be sustainable and energy efficient. In this data-revolution packed century, the world has become a global village,

How the White, Stepped Roofs of Bermuda Allowed Residents to Live Without Fresh Water Sources

Visitors to Bermuda are likely to notice one key feature about its architecture: across the islands, the pastel-painted houses all share a distinctive white, stepped roof style. A recent article on BBC News Magazine explores the original reason for, and subsequent history of, this unique roof design, showing how vernacular architectural elements often fit into a larger narrative of culture and geography.

Windows to Vernacular

An insight into the neo-vernacular ideologies, as applicable in architecture. A documentation of a traditional vernacular settlement in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh ; with understandings and applications of the traditional wisdom as practiced by Didi Contractor.

International Dialogues – Vernacular Approaches: Yasmeen Lari with Razia Iqbal

The RIBA welcomes Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first woman architect, to discuss her work and the importance of vernacular architecture with BBC Correspondent Razia Iqbal. Over 45,000 disaster relief structures have been built under the direction and influence of Yasmeen Lari since 2010. With an emphasis on vernacular building techniques and materials she produces buildings that not only create a smaller carbon footprint, but also are simple enough to be built by the inhabitants in need.

The Rise and Fall of Buffalo's Curious Telescope Houses

© David Schalliol
© David Schalliol

One of the most fascinating things about vernacular architecture is that, while outsiders may find a certain city fascinating, local residents might be barely aware of the quirks of their own surroundings. In this photographic study from Issue 4 of Satellite Magazine, originally titled "The Telescope Houses of Buffalo, New York," David Schalliol investigates the unusual extended dwellings of New York State's second-largest city.

The first time I visited Buffalo, New York, I was there to photograph the great buildings of the city’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century expansion for the Society of Architectural Historians: monumental buildings designed by Louis Sullivan, Fellheimer & Wagner, and, later, Frank Lloyd Wright. Many of these architects were the period’s leading designers, outsiders from Chicago and New York City hired to announce the arrival of this forward-looking city at the connection of Lake Erie and the Erie Canal.

These remarkable buildings, and the grain elevators that made them possible, have been thoroughly documented and praised, but they are also a far cry from the vernacular architecture I typically study. When I returned to Buffalo for the second, third, and—now—sixth times, I became fascinated by another building type: the Buffalo telescope house.

© David Schalliol© David Schalliol© David Schalliol© David Schalliol+ 20

Gallery: Mystical Photos of an Abandoned Chinese Village

Traces of human life lingering behind, forms carving their way through the land and sky, objects left in disuse and air that seems frozen in time -- whether morbid or sublime, abandoned buildings and settlements are an object of fascination and intrigue to architects and non-architects alike. As Shanghai-based photographer Jane Qing's photos of an abandoned village on Gouqi Island in China demonstrate, there is a rare kind of beauty to be found in the left-behind and the neglected.

See more photos after the break.