Vernacular architecture is a sustainable architecture practice which incorporates locally available materials. The architecture displays the cultural practices of the region. The architecture responds well to the climate and is a low cost and energy-efficient style of architecture. It re-establishes a connection between humans and the environment. 

Reading books has initiated ideas and shaped our perspectives about certain things. Anyone in the field of architecture must read the following books for gaining perspective about the vernacular architecture. 

1. Dutch Vernacular Architecture in North America,1640- 1830.by John R. Stevens 

The book is a record of buildings constructed by the Dutch in North America between 1640 to 1830. The book highlights those buildings which were measured, drawn and photographed by the author in greater detail. The details covered by the author are not to be found in any other resource in the present day. 

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Dutch Vernacular Architecture in North America ©Amazon.com 

 

2. Vernacular Architecture of West Africa, A World in Dwelling. by Jean -Paul Bourdier, Trinh T. Minh-ha 

The book focuses on the dwellings of African ethnic groups. Afrcian houses were not only designed to house the members of each family and also enable members to communicate with the ancestors and divinities to harmonize with the forces of nature. Architecture in the community is made from the earth and other resources which are used by their availability and also minimise the environmental impact. 

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Vernacular Architecture of West Africa, A World in Dwelling. by Jean -Paul Bourdier, Trinh T. Minh-ha  ©Routledge

3. Coming home, the southern Vernacular house. by James Lowell Strickland, Susan Sully 

The book focuses on the country homes, mountain retreats and coastal cottages which were in and beyond the American South. The book also focuses on the buildings through photographs. The interior and exterior spaces were designed in a way which combined the formal and informal spaces. The traditional material, artisanal craftsmanship was combined with the Southern style of the atmosphere of comfort.  The book also focuses on the Beaufort Style of design which combines classic revival details and painted plank walls. The housing system was designed in a way to provide comfort to the family residing in the house and include screen porches with swinging daybeds, rooms with rough-hewed beams and stone fireplaces. 

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Coming Home ©Goodreads.com 

4. American Vernacular, Buildings, and interiors,  by Herbert Gottfried and Jan Jennings 1870-1960

The book uses illustrations to examine the American Vernacular buildings and interprets vernacular architecture as it had emerged from the industrialization of the building materials. The book provides an overview of buildings and plan types for houses, commercial buildings, and churches. These buildings explain the development of key designs and their incorporation into American architecture. 

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American Vernacular, Buildings, and interiors,  by Herbert Gottfried and Jan Jennings 1870-1960 ©Goodreads.com 

5. The hand of the Small-town Builder, Vernacular Summer Architecture in New England, by W. Tad Pfeffer  1870-1935

The book discusses the vernacular architecture in New England during the late 19th century due to the explosion of new home construction. The housing catered to the middle-class people who could afford to build the new housing system. The typology was not fancy summer cottages but were simple structures erected on a small budget. The houses  built were sensitive to local typology and were connected to a landscape which was treated as masterpieces of vernacular architecture design. The projects which were documented in the book were located on the seacoasts, islands of Maine, hill towns, lakes, rivers of Vermont and New hemisphere. The documentation also included the craftsmanship which played an important role in the influence of these buildings. 

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The hand of the Small-town Builder, Vernacular Summer Architecture in New England, by W. Tad Pfeffer  1870-1935 © godine.com

 

6. China’s Vernacular Architecture, House Form and Culture.  by Ronal G. Knapp 

The book is an extension of Knapp’s previously written books. The book explains construction techniques, the organization of space, settlement patterns and influence of formal Chinese architecture using photographs and illustrations. 

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China’s Vernacular Architecture, House Form and Culture.  by Ronal G. Knapp © Abebooks.com 

 

7. Vernacular architecture from the 19th century in East Macedonia, Traditional Architecture.  by Petar Namicev

The book talks about the vernacular architecture in the 19th century and contains certain building values, traditional construction, spatial shaping, house models, interior decoration etc. The architectural form of the townhouses of Macedonia was dependent on the material being used. During this period the architectural form of townhouses of the 19th century was considered and reached the most creative form.  

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Vernacular architecture from the 19th century in East Macedonia, Traditional Architecture.  by Petar Namicev © amazon.com

8. Lessons from vernacular architecture in Nigeria. Written by Joyce Lodson 

The book talks about the relationship between contemporary architecture and vernacular architecture. The different cultural book has its unique form of vernacular architecture and its core values are relevant to the contemporary architecture of the region. The vernacular architecture in Nigeria is practised by two ethnic groups. The groups have varying climatic conditions, religions and socio-cultural practices. These groups are Hausas and Igbos and the approach towards architecture is looked towards as the intention of finding positive values in the vernacular architecture that can be applied to contemporary architecture in Nigeria and the rest of the world. 

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Lessons from vernacular architecture in Nigeria. Written by Joyce Lodson © Morebooks.de

 

9. Habitat, Vernacular Architecture for a changing planet. by Sandra Piesik 

The book highlights the primary features of vernacular architecture i.e. design based on local needs, use of natural resources, demonstrating a  variety of architectural forms, design elements unique to the culture and the ingenious construction techniques. The book talks about different vernacular architectural styles throughout the different regions and countries. The book focuses on Habitat architecture. The core of the habitat architecture is arranged by the climatic conditions. The evolution of the building styles is defined by the building sections which shows the effect of local climatic conditions and vegetation. 

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Habitat, Vernacular Architecture for a changing planet. by Sandra Piesik ©amazon.com

 

10. Traditional Architecture, Timeless Building for the Twenty-First Century.  by Alireza Sagharchi and Lucien Steil

The book gives an overview of current trends in the classicist and vernacular architecture. It includes 130 projects that were reconsidered for redefining the term vernacular architecture or the traditional architecture in the 21st century. The projects described in the books highlight the importance of vernacular architecture and also creates awareness for the need for a sustainable, local and traditional building craft by highlighting the buildings. 

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Traditional Architecture, Timeless Building for the Twenty-First Century.  by Alireza Sagharchi and Lucien Steil ©amazon.com

The books focus on different styles of vernacular architecture present in the world. The culture, environment and locally available material play a great role in the formation of the vernacular architecture. The income or area of living also plays a great role as seen in some cases.  

References: 

  1. https://bookauthority.org/books/best-vernacular-architecture-books
  2. Archdaily.com 
  3. Amazon.com 
Author

Sahiti is an architecture student in one of the top architecture institutes of the country, Sushant School of Art and Architecture. She is passionate about exploring new design ideas without compromising on the revolutionary changes in the field.

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