Relationship between Vernacular Techniques and Modern Architecture Today

In this era of tremendous technological innovation and urbanization, traditional vernacular construction expertise still has a lot to teach us. Modern architecture appears to have forgotten about vernacular architecture, which is the most basic form of fulfilling the needs of human settlements. However, due to recent increases in energy costs, the trend has shifted in the opposite direction. Given that all these new-age constructions have shown to be energy efficient and sustainable, architects are incorporating regionalism and cultural building traditions as well.

While an architectural representation may vary from place to place to respond to and adapt to a certain socio-economic climate, it must always prioritize human needs. It must safeguard and preserve. This is where the concept of vernacular architectural works arises—creating buildings based on the actual situation, using locally accessible materials to keep residents safe from the outside world. For example, Consider Kutch’s traditional Bhunga buildings, Assam’s bamboo structures, and Kerala’s characteristic clay-tiled, pitched roofs.

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Although vernacular architectural techniques appear to have been lost in modern architecture, some architects continue to advocate for the embrace of regionalism in design.

Familiarity with local materials gives craftsmen or workers more ways to connect with them, which increases job generation and availability, hence enhancing socio-economic opportunities. A good example of this will be the central university of Kashmir. The Central University of Kashmir’s design incorporates engravings and sculptural massing, which are reminiscent of Kashmiri art. Lattice screens and window shutters, carved wooden brackets, and other components are some of the most common.

The need to revitalize vernacular practices to make them more relevant is the need of the hour. Numerous historic construction techniques can be researched and implemented in today’s world. It’s also crucial that they’re not just carbon copies of the technique, but that they’ve been scrutinized and tweaked to fit the context and present situations. Consider Hassan Fathy’s work (an Egyptian architect who attempted to re-establish the usage of traditional mud construction over western building designs, material arrangements, and layouts).”

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Ways to Incorporate Vernacular Techniques in Modern day Architecture 

A Feel of Affinity 

Cities are brimming with displays of civic togetherness these days, thanks to rising urbanization. Many claims that present architecture is created in a piecemeal approach, with little regard for a community’s overall connection. The anthropological dimensions of space-making, for some reason, have been conveniently ignored. Analyzing ethos is crucial, which is why vernacular architecture is founded in it and develops a unique relationship with its residents’ well-being.

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Material Optimisation 

The vernacular design adheres to basic green architectural concepts such as energy efficiency and the use of locally sourced materials and resources. These constructions make use of local knowledge of how to design buildings that are both practical and efficient, as well as how to use local materials and resources. Residing in a home built with natural materials can have a long-term positive mental and health impact, in addition to the obvious benefit of reducing the environmental impact of transporting materials long distances. “Local materials are believed to have more passive energy conservation, resulting in a reduction in overall carbon emissions.”

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Past-Future Synergy 

If there is one thing to be learned from vernacular architecture, it is that it serves as a fundamental link between humans and their surroundings. It reasserts our place in the world and forces us to conceive in terms of pure survival – architecture before the architect. These structures are natural and resource-conscious solutions to regional housing demand, presenting a climate-responsive approach to a residence. The advantages of vernacular architecture have been recognized for much of history, have waned in the modern era, and are currently making a comeback among green architects and designers.

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Climate Responsive Architecture 

To create comfortable and energy-efficient dwellings, climate responsive architecture considers seasonality, the orientation of the sun (sun path and solar position), natural shadows provided by the surrounding topography, biological influences (for example, wind, rainfall, and humidity) as well as climatic data (temperature, historical weather patterns, etc.). Climate, soil types, wind speed and direction, temperature, and solar path are all things to think about. Examine the water flows, habitat, and geology of the area. Each should be documented with a skilled team of professionals to fully comprehend the implications of construction in that specific location.

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Layout the Structure on the Site 

Using an integrated design method, establish the most effective place for the structure to be situated on-site using a baseline massing of the building layout. Accessibility to infrastructure, staying at least 100 feet out of any watershed, not building in a floodplain, and in an environment with endangered animals are all factors to consider. Establish whether trees and other preexisting geological qualities should be avoided, as well as how water is flowing through the area, to determine the building’s location.

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Reference- 

Edwards, S. (2011). Vernacular Architecture and the 21st Century. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/155224/vernacular-architecture-and-the-21st-century.

Nast, C. (2021). World Environment Day: Vernacular architecture and its therapeutic effect on dwellers. [online] Architectural Digest India. Available at: https://www.architecturaldigest.in/story/world-environment-day-vernacular-architecture-and-its-therapeutic-effect-on-dwellers.

 [Accessed 8 Oct. 2021].

Business, F.B.F.L.F.T.M.E. wrote about sustainable business for T.B.S., Educator, I. a S., consultant and Evans, G.B.S.R.T.B. editorial policies M. (n.d.). 10 Steps to Designing Climate-Responsive Architecture. [online] The Balance Small Business. Available at: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/designing-climate-responsive-architecture-3157812.

Author

Abhishek Guha is an architecture undergraduate who wishes to create life altering spaces & experiences through his designs . His interests - writing, fashion, and cooking, are as erratic as he is. As a spontaneous extrovert who enjoys meeting new people, he seeks knowledge about the architectural paradigm while exploring the world.

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