Vernacular Architecture: Buildings with Nature as Architect

May 10, 2017 WorldMaster

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein

Humans are the only creatures on earth who can make a choice and determine his future. Animals respond to their environment according to their genetic code. They can learn very little in their lifetime, most of their decision is based on instinct.

Humans have leverage. They can pass learning from generation to generation such that the new generation can build on the knowledge that were researched Centuries ago. Today, our world is built on the foundation of discoveries from hundreds and thousands of years back. Our ovens are based on the discovery of fire, and then firewood, and flint, and combustion, and iron, screw and bolts and steel and methane. Each generation adds their technology to form the appliances and machines in modern life.



What is Vernacular Architecture?


Architect Ian Jay Bantilan defines Vernacular Architecture as architecture that develops through time in a specific culture and region, which evolves into the most efficient way of developing shelter and adapting to the local environment considering available materials and technology through time.

Evolution in Vernacular Architecture works as the painstaking process of trial and error in discovering the most efficient and productive solution to local climate. Nature  will dictate the style and composition of the buildings. Humans might be confronted by harsh cold weather in the Arctic and strong wind in the Desserts. In creating shelter they develop through the process of trial and error, the most practical solution to cold weather and strong winds. This constant tweaking and adaptation, in time, evolves into the most appropriate architecture solution to the region’s climate.




Today, most of Vernacular architecture are owned by the national museums and art foundations. These architecture document the continuous adaptation of the ancient people to adapt to their environment.


Vernacular Architecture: Buildings without Architects


It is remarkable that Vernacular Architecture were built without professional architects. The houses and religious structures are based on oral and written tradition on what worked before. These stories from where to position your kitchen and how to build a toilet are figured out by the local population, some of whom would designate as skilled craftsmen according to their expertise. For hot humid climates, Tropical Architecture would be applied.


As the world’s architecture are becoming more and more homogenous, local architects are embracing the use of vernacular forms in architecture. Not only does vernacular forms provide for a strong distinct colorful identity, it also points us to an energy efficient solution to our region’s common problems.


Coming Articles

Choosing your House’s Architecture Style
Choosing the Right Lot for a House
Finding an Architect in the Developing World

Architecture Style