Architecture is a canvas painted by people according to their distinct beliefs and trends that are well known. In every phase of transition that occurs in the world, people change their perspectives and implement various ways to indulge themselves in the long run. A similarity happens in the architectural field, where shelters truly belonged to people in ancient and pre-modernist eras. The buildings are structured paradigms that portray varied capabilities of society, environment, techniques, and resources through their designs. Assumptions define architecture through traditional aspects that always imitate religious and sacral buildings. However, not only religious beliefs but traditional beliefs indulging in architecture were all about people’s satisfaction. History claims the transition from shelter requirements to more sophisticated and functional architecture. That is how tradition and modernist innovations intrigued each other throughout the process.

Implementing traditional aspects in modern architecture - Sheet1
The little shelter hotel, Chiang Mai_©W Workspace Company Limited

The little shelter is a contemporary building of the 21st century that implements local traditional concepts to cope with environmental conditions. It is a composure of culture and creation in contemporary manners. The building has used the local method of wooden shingles in a modern way in response to environmental conditions. 

The cohesive intrusion of culture and creativity – 

Tradition implies cultural and limited development to fulfill the needs, while modern development implies more functional yet aesthetical fulfillment. The aesthetical and technological variations may build a gap in both styles, but the social and environmental impacts put them together as a solution. As a matter of traditional buildings, every enclosed space lends its feasibility to the spectators and habitats by providing shelter and shaping their religious, social, and cultural beliefs. The distinct regions have their own identity and local skills that lead to the creation of traditional aspects which retain the impact of environmental conditions at the micro-level. 

However, in the modern era, designers and architects focus on sustainable creations, but somehow the initiative gets forged as per microenvironmental conditions. So it feels like a need to implement local traditional aspects as an influence of modern architecture. 

The various Traditional Aspects implemented in Modern Architecture – 

Not only do facade treatments or foreign sustainable techniques lead to environment-friendly buildings, but it is necessary now to root back to the traditional skills that may lead to better preservation of the environment and societal values in the region where the building belongs. With changing demands of people and modernization, it is not possible to implement local skills in highrise or large-scale buildings. The possible way to accomplish the strategy’s traditional aspects is the fusion of passive techniques within modern and industrial resources.

Implementing traditional aspects in modern architecture - Sheet2
Marrakech Congress Center _ ©Tabanlioglu Architects

Marrakech Congress Centre is a prominent Morrocan cultural building referring vernacular or traditional concept of red stone and green courtyards. The rustic facade merged with the surroundings and nature through crawling vines and trees. The spatial attention was the sprawling central courtyard that connects the internal elements to the external surroundings and provides thermal stability to the occupants.

The fusion, not a confusion – 

Implementing the regional factors in and around any structure may confuse it with traditional architecture. The concept is to introduce passive methods of circulating natural energies through modern building materials – 

Built nature within the spaces – 

The compaction of concreted modules of the city demands natural intrusion to balance the thermal comfort inside and outside the building. The various methods to maintain the internal environment are green facades, vertical gardening, green walls, and sustainable materials. However, an open courtyard centering the blocks is a most effective traditional concept inspired by nature. 

Implementing traditional aspects in modern architecture - Sheet3
10th Monteith Street, Brooklyn_ODA Architecture

While juggling concrete blocks, ODA’s mixed-use residential building is an approachable ecosystem for people to experience in and out of the surroundings. The conceptual building breaks down the typical trend of apartment buildings and lets the sense of the environment through the oriental design of the building. 

Implementing traditional aspects in modern architecture - Sheet4
The schematic loop of the residential enclosure_ODA Architecture

Go In Go Out is a loop that connects the people inside out through all the corners of the buildings. The intrigued terraces and the o-shape roof provides sun exposure to the internal courtyard and bring people to the rooftop garden through a circulation loop. 

The passive methods of cooling and heating – 

The AEC industry emerged as one of the leading development globally, but with the pros come the cons. It also consumes more energy than other industries and leads to the emission of gases to a large extent. The energy consumption crisis has made architects involve more traditional skills to reduce the global effects. The buildings from the past- being the inspiration bring cross-ventilation, perforations, the concept of jaalis, and lattice structure into action in an era of mechanical techniques. 

Implementing traditional aspects in modern architecture - Sheet5
Rendering of Al Bahr Towers, Abu Dhabi_©Christian-Richter

Al Bahr towers represent the strings of the past, cultural and vernacular skills through its facade treatment. While showing the traditional concept of Mashabriya in the facade, the tower in Abu Dhabi is a futuristic amalgamation of technology and culture. The building is dedicated to local climatic conditions while maintaining modern designs and materials.

Implementing traditional aspects in modern architecture - Sheet6
An overview of lattice facade pf the tower_AHR

The lattice skin in the facade is kinetical to allow the indirect natural light to get in according to the directional movement of the sun. The penetration between the structural enclosure and lattice skin allows less heat absorption and provides shade to the internal spaces. The movement of fenestration changes with the sun’s direction and reduces the use of air-con by the natural cooling method resulting in less carbon emission for the win. 

Transforming the way to utilize materials – 

Inappropriate use of materials in an unfamiliar condition may disrupt the efficiency of the building. Most buildings involve steel, glass, iron, and concrete structures and sometimes fail to blend with the local environment. So transforming the contemporary with the traditional material formation is a salvation for building and human health. 

Using locally sourced building materials – bricks, rammed earth, clay, limestone, or other earthy materials reduces carbon emission, and the building nurtures the values of people and the environment. 

Development Alternative Headquarters,New Delhi_ASHOK B LALL ARCHITECTS

The building is a reversible response to the environment that produces zero emissions. Architects make it possible through traditional skills and local materials. Using fillers like earthen ports in the ceiling, jalis in the facade, and brick for the primary structure was a positive impact and efficient ideology for human and environmental comfort. 

To the endless innovations – 

The traditional aspects not only simplify the usage of the building but also leads to innovations. Architecture is about more functional spaces, so implicating local traits and micro-level conditions in building innovations can lead to the betterment of the global impacts in the future. 

External References – (n.d.). Traditional Building Methods in Modern Architecture by Esther Kiruba – Issuu. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Apr. 2023].

Azmi, F.T. (n.d.). How India’s lattice buildings cool without air con. [online] Available at:

Sharma, P. (2022). Passive Cooling Techniques For Building Designs. [online] Biltrax Media, A Biltrax Group venture. Available at:


Nancy is professionally an architect and emotionally an artist who wants to depict human emotions and buildings through her words. Her sole purpose is to become a connection between people and buildings and to reflect their feelings in buildings through her ideas.