Vernacular Architecture

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Vernacular Architecture by Mind Map: Vernacular Architecture

1. Materials, construction and the Vernacular

1.1. How are building materials categorized?

1.1.1. Natural vs manufactured Natural mud, clay, wood, stone, grass, animal products and timber Manufactured burned clay bricks clay roofing tiles lime and gypsum plastering glass cast iron Cultural value is not necessarily diminished with the use of manufactured materials, as vernacular characteristic includes the ability to adapt to changes in order to meet people's needs

1.2. How is building methods, structural system and workmanship specific in vernacular architecture?

1.2.1. represent wisdom of community

1.2.2. the knowledge pass down from generation to generation is a vernacular process

1.2.3. eg Tulou, Fujian building method: thick mud walls outside, living units along outer walls structural system: mud loadbearing wall and timber frame structure

1.3. What are the rites and rituals of Asian vernacular architecture?

1.3.1. Laos: pray to the spirit of tree while cutting down the tree to build

1.3.2. HK: roasted pig offering

1.3.3. Japan and China: Ancestral altar - to let spiritual agents bless the household

1.3.4. China: Feng Shui to determine orientation and opening directions

1.4. How does dimensioning work in building vernacular architecture?

1.4.1. Dimensioning has to be congruent with cosmos

1.4.2. timber structural frame manifests a high degree of sophistication and is tightly fitted choice of timber dimensioning craftsmanship

1.4.3. Carpenter pass dimensioning knowledge to apprentice with secret rhymes

1.4.4. Scale is coherent with human scale, eg foot, bu, zhou

2. Vernacular landscape

2.1. What is landscape?

2.1.1. Oxford dictionary: All the visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of aesthetic appeal

2.1.2. Manmade vs Natural landscape Manmade designed and created from scratch Natural what we see in natural environment not affected by human activities

2.1.3. Cultural landscape made by humans exists everywhere human activities affect land

2.2. What is vernacular landscape?

2.2.1. built environments for the commoners family garden eg Master of the Nets Garden, Suzhou open market eg Graham street market, HK fish ponds/terrace rice fields eg Rice terraces, Bali

2.2.2. manmade landscape/cultural landscape

2.2.3. "These ordinary or vernacular landscapes, which generally evolve unintentionally and represent multiple layers of time and cultural activity, are fundamental to our very existence" Prof Melnick

2.3. What are the different types of vernacular landscape?

2.4. How to identify which landscapes are vernacular?

2.4.1. Sense of place special bonding between people and ordinary places built on experiences and memories

2.4.2. Timelessness

3. What is vernacular architecture?

3.1. What is vernacular environment?

3.1.1. Everyday environment where people live in.

3.1.2. indigenous, tribal, folk, peasant, and traditional architecture. (Paul Oliver, Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the world)

3.1.3. traditional and natural way by which communities house themselves (ICOMOS Charter on Vernacular Heritage 1999) Continuous process which includes all necessary changes and continuous adaptations to social and cultural constraints

3.1.4. can be both rural and urban

3.1.5. made by ordinary people

3.1.6. based on shared knowledge

3.2. Why should we study vernacular architecture? What is its value?

3.2.1. vernacular architecture is a distinctive and indentifiable form of cultural tradition that belongs to a group of people

3.2.2. vernacular architecture across cultures represent a multiplicity of world's cultural assets

3.2.3. survival of vernacular architecture is threatened in Asia

3.3. What are the threats to vernacular architecture in Asia

3.3.1. homogenization of culture

3.3.2. socio-economic changes

3.3.3. unprecedented growth and changes in Asia

3.3.4. pressure from competing high-value activities

3.3.5. impacts of major infrastructure projects

3.3.6. environmental pressure

3.3.7. carrying capacity

3.3.8. human causes

3.3.9. natural causes

3.4. How should we study vernacular architecture?

3.4.1. Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the world architectural, sociological, economic, geographical, conservationist, etc

3.4.2. mix of different approaches --> more integral understanding towards vernacular architecture

4. People, culture and the vernacular

4.1. What is culture?

4.1.1. 1982 UNESCO World conference on cultural policies: "Culture embodies the complexity of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society/social group"

4.1.2. including arts and letters, modes of life, fundamental rights of people, value systems, traditions and beliefs.

4.2. How does cultural tradition relate to the emergence of vernacular architecture?

4.2.1. vernacular architecture is a translation of people's desires and aspirations

4.3. Amos Rapoport's Theoretical framework on the meaning of vernacular architecture

4.4. How can we understand vernacular architecture and its layers of meanings?

4.4.1. Low Level Meaning everyday and instrumental meanings cues identifying the uses of settings such as social situations, expected behaviour, privacy and accessibility, seating arrangement, movement and way-finding eg Jaisalmer, India platform in front of houses showcase people's daily lives. --> reflects people's priorities on publicness and privacy

4.4.2. Middle Level Meaning communicates identity, status, wealth and power "latent" aspects of setting and behaviour eg Nishijin, Kyoto workshop at the back of the house with looms .--> reflects their identity as home industry

4.4.3. High Level Meaning concerned with the sacred, cosmologies, world-view and philosophies eg Udaipur, India Shrine in local community --> reflects their worship to Earth God

5. The rural vernacular

5.1. What are Settlement & Setting?

5.1.1. Setting a place where something is embedded

5.1.2. Settlement a place where people establish community

5.2. Why do we study rural vernacular architecture?

5.3. What are the characteristics of rural vernacular environment?

5.3.1. Consists of isolated, clustered houses

5.3.2. Reflects Social, economic, cultural system

5.3.3. Connected with spiritual and cosmic values

5.4. What are the key characteristics of rural settlement and setting?

5.4.1. production of farming economy determines the size of community

5.4.2. houses/tents together with natural landscape forms the rural setting

5.4.3. hinterland provides economical subsistence eg Shirakago - mulberry based eg NW HK - rice based

5.4.4. clustering of people in a settlement is directly related to the forms of production in the landscape.

5.4.5. setting define the settlement/village

5.5. How does village represent a microcosm of society?

5.5.1. hierarchical structure village elder (respected person in the clan) looks after the welfare of whole village

5.5.2. village live together for defense and economic production

5.5.3. ability to send educated youngsters to officialdom represents status

5.5.4. vernacular architecture is a symbolic representation of village's social status, wealth and power

5.5.5. physical settlement is determined by socio and socio-economic factors

5.5.6. setting ensures well-being and good fortune of settlement

5.6. How does rural vernacular reflect socio-/economical-/cultural systems of a settlement?

5.6.1. Use of materials and way of building reflects status and wealth eg Diaolou, Kaiping use reinforced concrete and heavy ornamentaiton to represent status and wealth

5.6.2. materials taken from the landscape used for construction

5.7. How does rural vernacular reflect spiritual side/cosmic order of the village?

5.7.1. ancestral hall represents connection of the villagers to unworldly realm eg Ping Shan and Shui Tau Village ancestral worshipping to connect spirit of the place

5.7.2. ancestral tablets contain the name/birth and death dates of ancestors, represent the current generation's worship and respect to the previous generations tablets are made in cosmic dimensions to promote harmony with cosmos

5.8. Is the building of the rural vernacular a conscious process or an unconscious process?

5.8.1. "Notes on the Synthesis of Form" (1964) Christopher Alexander 1964 Un-self-conscious: "wealth of myth and legend attached to building habits" Un-self-conscious: "Craftsmen were not with special ability. They were just standing in a long tradition and made small changes whenever something seemed to need improvement" Self-conscious "reaction to failure becomes less direct" Self-conscious "produces badly-fitted forms"

5.8.2. Village tradition No one questions why the traditions were set as such Young generation builds in exactly the same manner as the old

5.8.3. Class Discussion: Christopher Alexander (1965) and Amos Rapaport (1969) argues that vernacular built-form is the most obvious and direct means of expression of a people and its culture, without having to go through a self-conscious process of thinking. C. Norberg-Schulz (1975) thinks otherwise. Is the vernacular process a self-conscious or an unself-conscious one? Self-conscious is a process with understanding of the motivation and rationale behind construction process Self-consciousness is an ability to make judgement to improve the living condition Initial construction process may be un-self-conscious Community goes through processes of trial-and-error and search for higher level meanings, the process becomes self-conscious

6. Informal settlement

6.1. Why informal settlements were formed?

6.1.1. Urbanization Expansion of urban population

6.1.2. Natural process

6.2. What are the Types of informal settlement?

6.2.1. Categorized by Kind of land it is built on Outskirt places where developers have not developed yet.  eg hillside Within cities. places which is not yet built on for some reasons.  eg cemeteries, river banks Way it is designed and built Managed someone like a "developer" identified and managed the land and laid out the plot Organic No formal layout

6.3. What are the problems with informal settlement

6.3.1. difficult living conditions crowded no infrastructure no services (plumbing, electricity, drainage, etc) no running water may induce spread of diseases may hinder kids' study may have danger of fire sanitary problems eg too close to dump site

6.3.2. threat to nearby urban development may contaminate water sources (by leakage and contamination)

6.3.3. illegal no ownership of land --> house eviction or even destruction no ownership -->no equity --> no credit continuously tenuous life

6.4. how is informal settlement vernacular?

6.4.1. built with commonly understood patterns and materials

6.4.2. built in a piecemeal fashion

6.4.3. built within a complex culture of material supply and expertise

6.5. what are the different government reactions to informal settlements?

6.6. how does economy within informal settlements operate?

7. Architectural conservation of Built Vernacular heritage

7.1. Why do we need to conserve vernacular architecture?

7.1.1. Vernacular architecture is distinctive and identifiable cultural tradition

7.1.2. Vernacular architecture captures how people live/build/work

7.1.3. Vernacular architecture reflects affection and pride of people

7.1.4. Vernacular architecture across different communities represents diversity

7.2. what is sustainability?

7.2.1. "While we wish to meet the needs of the present generation, we don't want to compromise or jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs and aspirations"

7.3. What is architectural conservation?

7.3.1. conservation VS preservation "Building Conservation Philosophy" John Earl (1996) "To preserve is to keep safe from harm, to maintain, keep up, guard again decay." "to conserve is to preserve, retain, keep entire" preservation is a sterile, negative process conservation is a creative, forward-looking process

7.3.2. economic life of a building is extended

7.3.3. cultural significance is retained

7.3.4. active and alive: deals with people's livelihood

7.4. How can we conserve cultural significance and value?

7.5. What are the conservation approaches?

7.6. How is paradigm shift affecting conservation?

7.7. What are Vernacular architecrture's cultural values?

7.7.1. values of a place are embodied in tangible and intangible attributes (character defining elements)

7.7.2. Historic value history of a group/culture eg Ruins of St Paul's, Macau

7.7.3. Aesthetic & Artistic value intellectual/emotional impact of a place (mood/feeling) eg Aso Shrine, Japan

7.7.4. Scientific & Research value capability of a place to provide knowledge of value to humanity eh Angkor Wat, Cambodia

7.7.5. Social & Identity value the way in which a place is/was a focus of spiritual/political/national/cultural activity to majority/minority groups collective memory eg Jakarta, Indonesia

7.7.6. cultural value: shared by everyone in the community

7.7.7. outstanding universal value: -transcends national boundaries -of common importance to all humanity

8. Climate and the Vernacular

8.1. What are the major climatic belts in Asia?

8.1.1. Arctic & subarctic eg Siberia

8.1.2. Continental cold openness of terrain --> exposed to prevailing westerly winds eg Mongolia and North Asia

8.1.3. Desert very dry night is cold; day is hot and dry eg Around Gobi Desert

8.1.4. Montane altitude orientation of slopes limited sunlight reach riverbanks eg Himalayan region, Tibet and Central Asia

8.1.5. Maritime eg Japan

8.1.6. Sub-tropical humid warm eg Coastal China, HK

8.1.7. Monsoon hot and rainy eg Vietnam, Cambodia, Thai, Burma and Central India

8.1.8. Tropical & Equatorial eg Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines

8.2. What are the corresponding typologies of vernacular built form to these climatic belts?

8.2.1. Continental Yurts Hearth for cooking and warmth Thick layers of animal skin to keep yurt warm Collapsible timber frame

8.2.2. Desert Cave dwellings Two types of cave dwellings Thick layers of soil Kang/Heated bed

8.2.3. Montane Stepped roof To maximize sunlight flat surface can also be used for drying food

8.2.4. Maritime Timber-framed domestic dwelling thinly insulated with external walls covered with clay interlaced with timber panels and paper shoji screens raised flooring to let air flow through easily thick thatched roofing

8.2.5. Sub-tropical whitewashed lime plaster walls in Suzhou lime to absorb moisture stone column base to stop rising damp larger and openable windows to let air flow through thinner walls ground floor open so that all sides can be cooled

8.2.6. Monsoon Bamboo houses high gables linear floor plan multiple smaller and narrow courtyards which are more like light wells taller houses have smaller light wells to shelter from sun and rain open and inter-linked to facilitate ventilation and lighting Mandarin House, Macau Wooden shutters to block out sun but not block out ventilation

8.3. How does Courtyard houses modify micro-climate?

8.3.1. intensify daylight with pocket of space

8.3.2. dilute wind by exercising partial control

8.3.3. illuminate and ventilate living space

8.3.4. collect rainwater

8.4. What is the relationship between climate and vernacular architecture?

8.4.1. China: Feng Shui 風水 - wind and water

8.4.2. Korea: Pung-su

8.4.3. Japan: Hoigaku - concerned with direction, angle and corners

8.4.4. Culture > Climate

8.4.5. Climate informs decision of site location and orientation

8.4.6. but culture is more important than climate in architectural decisions in vernacular architecture, as reflected in Japan example

9. The Urban vernacular

9.1. Why is the city a cultural milieu?

9.1.1. How is city formed? Urbanization Why do people move to cities? people give up connections with clans when they move to cities piecemeal transformations (migration and emigration) Beginning: Villagers brought their knowledge from rural to the city Later, knowledge across villagers are shared and melted in the city, forming new culture and knowledge Clusters are formed by people from similar backgorund. eg China Town guilds cluster habitation + Production: Kyoto: houses with weaving workshops at back rooms dwelling + sales: Asia: shophouses religious + commerce: Istanbul: mosque over row of shops

9.2. How are buildings placed in the city?

9.2.1. Order follows cosmic structure eg Tokyo, Japan centre is occupied by emperor (sent from heaven) eg Beijing, China centre is occupied by emperor 天子 (sent from heaven)

9.2.2. Order follows socio-economic structure eg Kyoto, Japan grid structureL houses on smaller grids, commercial buildings on principal streets

9.3. What are the urban vernacular typologies?

9.3.1. Japanese Townhouse Type/Machiya Architectural characteristic Party wall: 2 walls shared with houses on either sides Long passage on one side: access to rooms lined up behind each other (living, sitting, daily activity) Type vs variation type: share same arrangement variation: differs in details and the way they are built

9.3.2. South Asian Bungalow Type Architectural characteristic fenestration with louvres: enable cross ventilation and block direct sunlight N-S facing: to avoid low easterly and westerly sun angle High ceiling and Deep verandah in front: moderate hot and humid climate Large halls with open floor plans

9.3.3. Asian shop houses Architectural characteristic Business on G/F Family live upstairs Access to quarters by stairs at the back of shop a hybrid of Chinese precedence and European influence symbolize ideas of family as social unit/economic entity life of shop is closely linked to that of the family

9.3.4. Urban houses in Kathmandu Valley Architectural characteristic mud to cover floor boards: -to prevent crops from falling through the wooden boards -to provide thermal insulation separate rooms for drying and storage of harvest and crops built on sides of slopes: visitors enter on 1/F and are greeted at the kitchen livestocks are kept on G/F to protect them built in stone and mud with timber frames influence from Hinduism and Buddhism difference in lifestyle breeds variety of house types earthquake in 2015: no tie beam -> collapse

10. The future of Asia's vernacular architecture

10.1. what is the Asian tradition?

10.2. How is Asian vernacular architecture able to survive in modern world?

10.2.1. "We must understand our past well enough to value it, and yet also well enough to know why and how it must change." Charles Correa

10.2.2. Understand why things worked in vernacular architecture, and apply that to design eg Incremental Housing, India eg National Crafts Museum, Delhi eg Kanchaujunga Apartments, India

10.3. How does tradition compare to modernity?

10.3.1. "Tradition and modernity are two sides of the same coin. No society referred to itself as traditional before the first few centuries, and the idea of the traditional did not arise until the invention and articulation of modern" Nezar AlSayyad

10.3.2. tradition is not the past; it is the process of handing down of wisdom from generation to generation

10.3.3. Invention of tradition is a continuous displacement.

10.3.4. Adding modern facilities does not necessarily diminish cultural value

10.4. What is "the living tradition"?

10.4.1. Tradition requires great labour

10.4.2. eg Pingyao, China people still live in it and make a living

10.4.3. How can "the living tradition" be a way to achieve sustainability for vernacular architecture? Only by bringing in modern facilities can vernacular architecture keep the people in it Only by keeping the people in vernacular architecture can vernacular architecture be conserved

10.5. How can vernacular architecture be studied differently?

10.5.1. eg Ningbo Historic Museum old bricks and tiles from heritage houses in vicinity to form skin of the museum --> continuity of tradition and local cultural heritage

10.5.2. eg Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China architectural language to resonates with landscape and topography --> maintain the spirit of place

10.5.3. eg Kwong Yuen Estate, HK human scale