Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Vernacular Architecture

Buildings locally developed with the test of time

Maybe there is a reason why Africa is still a non developed continent. Maybe they can sense the trouble of a developed capitalist society.

Vernacular architecture is the construction and building design of settlements that relate to their contexts and available resources. They are customarily owned or community built utilising traditional techniques.

The architecture focuses on meeting the specific needs accommodating the values, economies and ways of living of the cultures that produce them.

Vernacular architecture is constantly adapted and developed overtime as needs and circumstances change.  We can learn from these designs and must include some factors in the architecture of today. 

Church in Ethiopia constructed using local materials

Chicken and food storage huts

Vernacular architecture in Africa is fascinating. Africa has more beauty than I could have ever imagined. The people have lived with the nature; the buildings shape the surroundings; the materials of the surroundings shape the buildings. The architecture has evolved with nature.

The buildings are suited to their context

In the villages people young or old construct their own house themselves. While building, learning and teaching themselves off others people use the technologies that have adapted through time. These are often improved with green solutions to enhance and create beautiful sustainable buildings for the future. The people in the villages have low income yet save and buy solar panels as they understand the importance of using green energy. People see it is essential to care for the land and their environment. Solar panels do work extremely well in the tropical dry climate of East Africa.

I heard a story from an architect in Namibia about the American Indians. They lived and grew in one settlement building and looking after their cattle. One day they just upped and left. The reason for this was that they knew they were becoming too developed. The technology and system had become unsustainable. The land was being damaged.

Our future systems are perfected and heavily advanced which is very good for thermal comfort and ease.  We have maximised development but before overuse in materials and design we need to think of being sustainable for our future generations. Our buildings live and breathe like humans. With all of this technology it is essential to build using only green policies. There needs to be investigations and research on only the local materials and products in the area to secure zero carbon projects reusing and recycling materials efficiently.

With such powerful skills and research we should focus on:

• Finding quality materials sourced locally in a sustainable manner

• Reducing the cost of green solutions

• Spending time to research the use of simple construction techniques which can easily be passed onto the less knowledgeable or inexperienced people

1 comment:

  1. Great... incredible journey!!!

    Are you still active?

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