VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE: Architecture before the Architect


General Info about Vernacular architecture


Vernacular = sustainable = low-carbon designs


The term vernacular means "domestic, native, indigenous"; from verna, meaning "native slave" or "home-born slave".


  • Buildings before the 17th century are considered vernacular architecture.


  • Build with locally learned skills


  • Build by people for the people: the buildings are simple, cost-efficient and easy to build (ease of construction was key)


  • Materials are locally sourced.


  • The design reflects the climate and the regional culture of the people that build it.


Vernacular Architecture
Vernacular Architecture

The vernacular architecture provides a vital connection between humans and the environment. It re-establishes us in our particular part of the world and forces us to think in terms of pure survival – architecture before the architect.

Vernacular architecture is described as a built environment that is based upon local needs; defined by the availability of particular materials indigenous to its particular region, and reflects local traditions and cultural practices.

The Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World defines vernacular architecture as:

...comprising the dwellings and all other buildings of the people. Related to their environmental contexts and available resources they are customarily owner- or community-built, utilizing traditional technologies. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce them.