Vernacular Architecture

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Vernacular Architecture by Mind Map: Vernacular Architecture


1.1. the concept of landscape

1.1.1. man-made/cultural J.B. Jackson, landscapes an be designed and created from scratch, and can grow old and fall into decay Robert Melnick, cultural landscape exists virtually everywhere monumental environments Katsura in Kyoto, Yi-he Yuan in Beijing, the Thai Royal Garden, Indian Royal Garden of the Taj Mahal. the Cambodian Royal Garden, vernacular landscape

1.1.2. natural areas of trees, mountains, rivers, earth, sea not affected by human activities and culture

1.1.3. Oxford dictionary, all the visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal.

1.2. the concept of vernacular landscape

1.2.1. types of vernacular landscapes private versus public, rural versus urban.

1.2.2. built environment for the commoners example family gardens open markets on the street fish ponds or terrace rice fields bottom-up not always created by professional designers or planners.

1.2.3. reflecting layers of culture Robert Melnick, vernacular landscapes, which generally evolve unintentionally and represent multiple layers of time and cultural activity, are fundamental to our very existence.

1.2.4. urban vernacular landscape time and dichotomy dichotomy between private property ownership and public spaces. property lines

1.2.5. rural vernacular landscape organic process people place tree/temple to mark it as public space in the past no planning but aspiration for people gathering location of public space is planned in a sense form of the space is unpredictable

1.2.6. meaning of vernacular landscape are imbued with layers of meaning, be they spiritual or cultural, that directly link the past, present and future together to give meaning to our existence and well-being of the culture. sense of place related to memory Latin term - genius loci atmosphere of a place quality of its environment ordinariness 'sense of place' makes ordinary places not so ordinary example timelessness landmark why do places built in the past so often still resonate with us today? One's response is not necessarily temporary to vernacular landscapes, but rather embodies a certain timeless quality embedded in the everyday world.

1.3. Questions

1.3.1. Can we keep the traditional environment and, at the same time, allow the city to grow? The traditional environments that we treasure so much, how do we make them sustainable in an urbanized, modernized city?

1.3.2. examples in Hong Kong - sense of place rubbish bin I think the first thing come to my mind that ties me with Hong Kong is the organge rubbish bins. The sense of place does not need to be necessarily built up by large stuff, it could be very small things like objects. You can find the bins almost every corner of the street. While travelling to other places, I always think of them and hope to find them after a turn in the streets. The think the rubbish bins defines the Hong Kong street images in my mind which leads to the sense of place I would say. Man Kuk Lane Park Cameron Road in Tsim Sha Tsui 大坑炳記茶檔


2.1. Question

2.1.1. how do we deal with the challenges and threats to vernacular architecture and make sure that it is sustained in this modern, urbanized world?

2.1.2. what constitute rural vernacular, and why is it of value.

2.2. Perspectives on the rural vernacular

2.2.1. identity the rural vernacular environment has a special connection to who we are and where we have come from. modernization challenges our identity on a personal, regional, and even national level.

2.3. what

2.3.1. Settlement and setting settlement A settlement is a place where people establish a community. setting without the setting, you probably cannot understand the nature of the village. base landscape relationship rural vernacular consists of isolated or clusters of houses forming communities or villages The production of a farming economy, very often plays fundamental role in determining the size of a nomadic or fishing community or village. the clustering of people within a settlement or village or a small town is directly related to the forms of production in the landscape. the physical settlement is determined by a range of social and socio-economic factors. the architecture within the settlement itself consists of more than dwelling-houses. The idea of the building as a tiny part of the larger landscape. examples Shirakawa-gō (白川郷) the northwestern Hong Kong rice-farming village in Southeast Asia Bangladesh

2.3.2. rural social, economic and cultural systems as foundation defining vernacular architecture examples Kaiping village and its Diaolou buildings physical representation of the social, economic, and cultural systems in a village

2.3.3. The spiritual side of the rural vernacular environment their survival depends on finding the right balance between the range of natural forces and coping with the changing of the four seasons. connected with the spiritual and cosmic realms example Kam Tin Ping Shan and Shui Tau village in Hong Kong

2.3.4. The timeless way of building not necessarily 'unselfconscious' Christopher Alexander The village is generally always in a state of construction and transformation. The cycles of building - repair, and decay matches the seasonal changes of the lifecycle of planting and harvesting timeless quality of a building The timeless, or the eternal quality, is generated from the ways in which care and attention of the owner and the builders have been put into the production of buildings. examples udaipur, india rectagular building in a village


3.1. questions

3.1.1. what buildings constitute the urban vernacular?

3.1.2. how does the character of a city depend on its vernacular buildings?

3.1.3. how do urban vernacular buildings and landscapes support daily life of the cities?

3.1.4. what are some of the Asian urban vernacular building types?

3.1.5. what are the processes through which the urban vernacular is built?

3.1.6. why bring people, why people want to live in that high concentration? Why gathered in these places, why gathered in cities?

3.1.7. are Asian cities vastly and rapidly disappearing in the age of globalism? Are Asian cities losing their identities?

3.1.8. The solidity of vernacular architecture form of specific place is negative correlate with the density of cultural layer. In another word, the more cultural layer that a specific place containing, the more diversified form of architecture can be considered as vernacular. Do you agree? I don't agree. Ideally, more cultural layers a place contains, the more diversified the vernacular architecture. As people from different backgrounds add layers of culture into a place such as a city. However, when it comes to form of architecture, I think it's not only related to cultural layers but also other factors like political and economical forces. Take Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong as example. Each city does have their own characteristic form of architecture from the past, Hutong houses, LiNong houses, Tong Lau. When more and more people of different cultural backgrounds migrate to these cities, the resulting vernacular architecture forms have becoming more and more generic. High-rise residential towers responding mostly to regulation and population and economy instead of cultural layers. the term "solidity" requires a long period of time to condense into a compact condition, thus it is not negative or positive, but is concentrated. Second, form of architecture is not the major factor to consider as vernacular cause vernacular architecture is constructed by content. It means the customs and how custom evolve to be building and create culture.

3.2. intro

3.2.1. Urbanisation Until the mid-20th century and especially after Second World War, the vast majority of the Asian people lived on the land and made their living through the land and the sea. cities are not built all at once, but emerge gradually through tens of thousands of piecemeal migrations and emigrations. As a city grew and developed, the later domestic buildings were designed and built according to the laws and rules of finance that provide a balance between repetition and a variation among all these buildings.

3.2.2. industrialization Professor Paul Oliver relationship with material

3.2.3. colonialism produce the built form that reflected the economic and social relationship of colonialism on the ground. As a consequence, cultural layering is a common feature of most Asian cities... they all tell stories about key stages in the evolution of societies and cities.

3.3. The city as a cultural milieu

3.3.1. economic opportunity job opportunities

3.3.2. cities are concentrations of creative production, and of culture

3.3.3. interchange with people who they don't know in village they know each other people from different background people are either migrants from the rural areas or immigrants from other countries of different ethnic, religious, and cultural origins, live in clusters within the same city. For instance, Chinatown, Indian Town, Muslim Quarter, or European Quarter, and they all have a much wider variety of occupations. melting pot give up connections to family and friends example Java

3.3.4. hybrid buildings diversity of buildings that exist in cities, but also to the flexibility of buildings and the inventiveness of the people who live in them. The streets, or bazaar, or the public squares is an extension of the house, children play on the sidewalk next to their houses, the stores are open onto the streets and people meet outside the stores.

3.3.5. private and public the relationship between buildings and public space is crucial, and the life of a city has very much to do with the interaction between the private world of the building and the public world of the streets.

3.4. The place of buildings in the city

3.4.1. the relative positions of dwellings and commercial buildings depend on the economic factor and on the different functions of dwellings and commerce.

3.4.2. commercial buildings on main street

3.4.3. residential houses on small street

3.4.4. According to the video, which of the following affect how the buildings are arranged and their relationships with each other? The city’s social and economic structure. The city’s physical geography. The culture of the society in which the city is located.

3.5. Types of urban vernacular buildings

3.5.1. Japanese townhouse type - machiya party walls two walls that are shared with houses on either side type and variation type variation

3.5.2. South Asian bungalow type a type of urban or suburban detached houses normally a single-story or sometimes one-and-a-half-story house. finished in white plastering and pitched roofs. roofs were made of thatch, which may have been one source of the name 'bungalow', taken from the indigenous grassed roof houses of Bengal in the hinterland of Calcutta It is normally north-south facing to avoid the low easterly and westerly sun angle.

3.5.3. Asian shop houses hybrid of Chinese precedence and European influences. The shop house is a building that combines trade and dwelling and helps to symbolize the idea of the family as a social unit, as well as an economic entity. business on ground family on top stairs at back a long and narrow house of two to four stories, lined up in rows along the street with narrow frontages, normally about five to seven meters wide and can be up to 60 meters deep, and dispersed with one or two courtyards subdividing long house into three or four sections.

3.5.4. Urban houses in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal urban habitation is centered on the main temple Hinduism and Buddhism the differences in lifestyle, settlement pattern and climate, and the idiosyncrasies of the various ethnic groups, have produced an astounding variety of housetypes. 3 stories high stone and mud with timber frames build on sides of slope ground floor keep animals use mud to cover the floors thermal insulation

3.6. Building the urban vernacular

3.6.1. Urban vernacular buildings have evolved over time

3.6.2. developers build houses The vernacular buildings, including houses, are not necessarily financed by the people who use them,but instead by speculative developers who may build many identical buildings at the same time and then sell them to individuals.

3.6.3. are they vernacular? Even though these buildings are not built with the hands of the people who use them, and even though they use materials that have been processed and manufactured, they are still vernacular buildings. They are ordinary, they are local, and they represent the most likely buildings to be built in a particular place, at a particular time.

3.6.4. street connection is loose defeats one of the discussions of the purpose of vernacular we've been talking about as the neighborhood, is the connection to people.


4.1. what

4.1.1. double-edge sword provide housing house 30% of the population economic opportunity provides opportunity that's allowed people to enter the urban economy at a very basic level, gradually building up a business from practically nothing.

4.1.2. Types of informal settlements classification classified according to the kinds of land they occupied and the ways in which they are designed and built. different forms of settlements have different modes of origin and different kinds of layouts ranging from highly organized rectilinear grids to much more irregular and organic configurations. has formal layout no formal layout

4.1.3. cultural and social identities

4.1.4. Conditions are sometimes very crowded and difficult. sanitation and hygienic reason await government clearance face public condemnation Heavy rains may cause roofs to leak and houses to flood. There may be a lack of running water and good drainage. Electricity may be obtained only illegally by tapping into power lines. foster disease hinder children's studying risk of fire

4.1.5. The economy within informal settlements places of intense economic enterprise and businesses Dhobi Ghat and Dharavi in Mumbai people organize themselves and make the maximum capacity shadow economy It is the case that some informal settlements are a drain on the economy. But many of them have extensive and highly intensive economic activities. This “shadow” economy may seemingly acts separately from the mainstream economy, it nonetheless provides employment to the people who live in the informal settlements.

4.2. why exist

4.2.1. urbanization byproduct of urban growth unprecedented economic growth, and the accelerated expansion of the urban population, these settlements exist mostly in one time or another for historical, political, and social reasons big forces of urbanization that are pulling people to cities, for ultimately economic reasons.

4.2.2. Informal settlement is part of the natural process of migration to cities. In recent years, some cities have come to recognize that although the settlements are illegal, they also represent a widespread phenomenon that is not going away.

4.2.3. economic reason

4.3. how exist

4.3.1. vernacular form houses are similar to each other process of building is in fact a very, almost a natural process of people doing what they know, know how to do, doing it quickly, doing it expeditiously.

4.3.2. fear of being thrown off

4.3.3. informal construction material pretty rough, cast-off, used materials. just finding old materials, using them, using sheet metal, using pieces of wood culture of material suppliers in some cases builders.

4.3.4. NGO The non-governmental organizations may provide backing to fight for the provision of services, such as water, drainage, and electrical power. improve the housing stock by providing help for loans and the ability to register land ownership and legalize what was once illegal. NGOs don't have a capacity to really upgrade their lives build toilet provide water supply

4.3.5. illegality of the settlements no ownership of land illegal lands lead to eviction no property equity

4.4. Vernacular value

4.4.1. built with commonly understood patterns and materials reuse readily available waste materials, the reused materials may be scraps of leftover industrial products.

4.4.2. are built in a piecemeal fashion Settlements gradually evolve as people develop a more permanent attachment to their houses. incomplete state

4.4.3. are built within a complex culture of material supply and expertise. builders living in the informal settlement a market for manufactured building materials within the settlement. has an organized economy

4.4.4. how to preserve people's homes and livelihoods gradual improvement rather than demolition and reconstruction community engagement end up in political confrontations build connections/circulations build libraries/ community centres near the villages

4.4.5. continuous process process of informal settlement = another version of the process of vernacular = typical of urbanization processes in many cities of the world Howard Davis part of the natural process of migration to cities

4.4.6. Informal settlements and the future of cities these informal settlements and their future evolution represent important components of the future of the cities themselves. informal settlements as another form of urban cultural milieu

4.5. question

4.5.1. major impediment to the improvement of informal settlements? Lack of land tenure and land ownership by the inhabitants

4.5.2. Pokfulam Village Professor Howard Davis mentioned about the process of informal settlement. He said it is another version of the process of vernacular and typical urbanization process. It relates to a video clip I was watching earlier this week which is about Pok Fu Lam Village - how it developed its history and layers of spatial components. How do you see the role of Village in the urbanized context and its relation with other existing informal settlements in Hong Kong. Video Link - informal settlements used to be connected, now they are divided into pockets These informal urban settlement and the formal ones in fact share the same origin or history. However, they are of different branches in the growing process of a city. And because of the same origin shared, some of them have the same belief and custom. For instance, the Fire Dragon Dance celebration in Pok Fu Lam Village shown in the video also happened in Tai Hang at mid-Autumn Festival. This celebration creates a similar sense of place of a vernacular environment with the same high level meaning of bringing good fortune to the people. Therefore, they could also represent the identity of a city. On the other hand, they could also bring new growth in the city. For example, the fire in squatter settlements in Shek Kip Mei urges government to face the problem and start building public housing to accommodate the vernacular people. These informal settlements would not only provide models for the inevitable existence of them. They would also become informal recognition of other existing ones in the city. Pok Fu Lam village is an informal settlement, one of the last remaining historical villages in Hong Kong Island’s urban context, with narrow lanes and alleys twisting through the village, it is regarded as blights in the urban fabric and urban development process while the village itself has lots of cultural traditions and festivals throughout the year. Strict squatter control policies make it hard for villagers to repair their dwellings result in the negative physical appearance. What kind of balancing approach do you think the government could take to preserve the informal settlements with cultural values?

4.5.3. Why are some informal settlements being recognized by government as formal like some of those in Semarang City or recognized as world heritage like Clan Jetty in Penang, while some ended up being demolished like the squatter settlements in Shek Kip Mei? What we can learn from the recognized ones in order to preserve this kind of vernacular architecture?

4.5.4. Argue the pros and cons of the role of government to coming to grips to with giving such provisions to the under-privileged class? Pros: 1)Improve living condition in informal settlement to avoid outbreak of fire or hygienic problem which may spread to the surrounding urban context Cons: 1)Informal Settlement is a self-initiated community which top-down solutions from government is not going to working effectively 2)Different own settlement has their own way of system of expanding which there may not be one systematical way for the government to tackle different settlements 3)If the government's stand is to remove the slums and move the inhabitants into public housing, the provisions would be a waste of resource

4.6. examples

4.6.1. Clan Jetty in Georgetown, Penang a cluster of five long boat jetties Each jetty is occupied by a family clan 249 detached houses of single or two stories that are constructed of wood paneling walls pitched with metal sheets or thatch roofs.

4.6.2. Hong Kong Jupiter Street extension of market It is a deadend road because of an informal settlement when Henderson develops in the deadend, will the informal settlement be torn down?

4.6.3. Hong Kong Haven Street used to be autoshops and mechanics - community developers build Park Haven, then the community and shops are bought by other restaurants and developers pocket space being gentrified

4.6.4. Kowloon Walled City Kowloon Walled City has been a typical informal settlement in Hong Kong. It has its own culture, economic and social structure differently from the city outside the wall. Yet, due to the sanitation and political issue, the city has been demolished. If the government wanted to improve the situation and living in the walled city, what would be the possible solutions to conserve the vernacular? Or, does it worth to preserve? Worth preserving this type of scale of informal settlement? background Different site has different background history and reasons to be demolished Everything is illegal Solution "The City of Darkness"

4.6.5. France, Calais Jungle Refugees


5.1. Intro

5.1.1. What is Vernacular Architecture Vernacular architecture is a distinctive and identifiable form of cultural tradition that belongs to a group of people and it is an entirely man-made environment which captures how people live, how they build, and how they work in it. It is an attractive product of society, the affection and pride of all peoples.

5.1.2. Importance epitomizes the world's cultural diversity

5.1.3. Threats rapid urbanization in the private ownership uncontrolled population growth degradation of our environment natural disasters economic pressures from high land prices and subsequent urban renewals, globalization, homogenization of culture human neglect, ignorance, greed, wars and conflict

5.1.4. Sustainability While we wish to meet the needs of the present generation, we don't want to compromise or jeopardize the ability of the future generation to meet their needs and aspirations. vernacular doesn't last as long as the big buildings

5.2. Question

5.2.1. how do we make these ordinary built forms sustainable in a modern globalized world?

5.3. Definition of architectural conservation

5.3.1. conservation vs preservation difference 1 John Earl difference 2 Preservation - dealing with the preservation of historical monuments or archaeological sites Conservation - dealing with people's daily livelihood difference 3 Preservation - Historical monuments, preserve historical values Conservation - Vernacular architecture, conserve cultural significance and values

5.3.2. conservation James Kerr conservation is a process that concerns the care and continuing development of a place.

5.3.3. UNESCO World Heritage List breathing and living heritage Hoi An ancient town in Vietnam, the rice terraces of Philippines Cordilleras, the Clan Jetty in George Town, Malaysia, the shophouses in Malacca and George Town, the urban houses in the historic precinct of Macau the town of Luang Prabang in Laos. monuments Taj Mahal in India, the Angkor in Cambodia, The historical castles and palaces in Japan the Rohtas Fort in Pakistan

5.4. How to Conserve

5.4.1. understand background/values because of the ordinariness of the vernacular built forms, people are not aware of these values and these places are neglected or ignored. the importance of understanding the cultural significance of a place and the underlying principles of conserving the built vernacular heritage. Can cultural value be quantified? value of a place architectural value aesthetic value Scientific and research value historical value social and identity value outstanding universal value existence value tangible attributes intangible attributes now vs future Who is doing the valuing? individual level family level ethnic level provincial level universal value national level manufactured heritage vernacular places also ought to be truthful and authentic

5.4.2. Context The vernacular place should be protected within a larger physical context such that it is not isolated from its surrounding cultural landscape. what is vernacular what's important about vernacular architecture that on their own, there's nothing really individually special about these places, but when you put them together into a whole neighborhood, into a street, and have activities there that are small-scaled, where people get to know the shopkeeper, and there's sort of casual activities, and a very strong sense of place. It's the tangible buildings, and then it's the intangible activities, and the attachments that people have to these places.

5.4.3. Conservation Approach challenge/dillema adoption of modern standards of human comfort Modern Comfort alteration, adaptation, or improvements are indispensable to the conservation of vernacular architecture. bring in modern conveniences Reburishment vernacular response Is the building responding to the people's changing livelihood and changing economy? is the building responding to people's desire to have this modern comfort?

5.4.4. Importance for Future conservation is for the benefit of the future generation It should be a community effort and in some case, a global effort. cultural sustainability The architectural conservation of vernacular built heritage can help us eliminate ignorance and neglect of the everyday environment we live in and nurture our cultural identities. Change and recurrence are the sense of being alive... the arguments of planning all come down to the management of change.

5.5. Example

5.5.1. Community in Kathmandu and Patan our community is important enough and maintaining our community and making places for our community is very, very important. are very important parts of the public streetscape of the town

5.5.2. The Pawn, Wan Chai, Hong Kong The photo shows a four-storey tenement building in Wanchai which was listed as a local heritage conservation site and acquired by the Urban Renewal Authority. To conserve this building, the way adopted is to revitalise it by changing its function, from the original Wo Cheong Pawn Shop to a group of upscale restaurants and shops including a bar called "the Pawn", giving a clue to the building's history. Why do you think this building is more valuable than the other tenement houses in the same area? Do you think this way of conservation can effectively conserve the value of the building? As mentioned in the video, the value of a place can be considered from tangible and intangible attributes and in many aspects - architectural, aesthetic, scientific and research, historical, social and identity, universal values. In my opinion, in terms of the results, The Pawn is more of preservation than conservation. It preserves the more tangible values like architectural and aesthetic but not the historical and social values. The programme or the community of the building hosts has totally changed. When you look at its sign "Wong Cheong Pawn Shop", it reflects specific memory of Hong Kong people and relates to historical context. What is left now is just the shell of the building. I think this building is not necessarily more important than other tenement houses in the same area architecturally, but it has gained fame and become a local focus because of the Wo Cheung Pawn it housed. It falls into the category of collective memory. The way of conserving this building I dont think is effective. If the value of the building is to be effectively conserved, I think more of the general public should be able to engage in activities in it. By housing mostly upscale bars/restaurants, it has lost touch with the general public. Using the name "the Pawn" doesn't enable it to reconnect with the past. E.H. Bank, Kobe, Japan The property is bought from the Pawn to the URA the Pawn shop need to rent after URA rebuilt it The law makers should consider residents/renters as replacement/return after conservation, consider their rights to come back

5.5.3. Green House/Comic Home Base Centre, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Do you think revitalization is a way of conservation? Is it a successful way? For example, the Green House in Wan Chai, used to be Tong Lau shophouses, now converted to Comic Home Base. The community before and after the revitalization has changed. But at the same time, the city also transformed. Although some of these places have even become a hotspot for citizens and tourists, are they conservation of vernacular?

5.5.4. Blue House, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

5.5.5. Ho Tung Gardens, Hong Kong


6.1. what is the Asian tradition?

6.1.1. Tradition modernity as an experience Nezar AlSayyad nothing tradition about living in traditional villages The tradition of vernacular built environment has to be seen in the context of modernity. As without modernity as a relative measure there is no tradition. tradition vs now vs future traditions born and die the definition of tradition has always been to view it as a dynamic project, a present-day project, a project that always attempts to interpret and reinterpret the past in light of the needs of the present and with some vision of the future. Time/space continuum tradition vs innovation in its first practice, it was never tradition, it was in fact an innovation. And it's the innovation that lasts and it's passed down as expected and is then acquires either value or ascribed with value that becomes tradition. What is our Asianness? Tradition as a product tradition as a process multiple vs mono tradition

6.2. how is Asian vernacular architecture able to survive in the modern world?

6.2.1. living tradition providing facilities inside the vernacular eg Pengyao, Shanxi improve the living condition maintain vernacular principles in new buildings

6.2.2. Searching for tradition and identity Asian cities are becoming homogeneous cities Christian Norberg-Schulz urbanization in Asia is a vernacular process.

6.3. example

6.3.1. Charles Correa We must understand our past well enough to value it and yet also well enough to know why and how it must be changed. apply vernacular elements to architecture affordable housing National Crafts Museum, Delhi Kanchanjunga Apartments, Mumbai Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, India

6.3.2. Pengyao, Shanxi, China walled city courtyard houses

6.3.3. Wang Shu Ningbo Historic Museum demolished villages for the museum old is not bad Xiangshan Campus of China Academy of Art inside vs outside villagers build the houses from ground placing people in a space It is never done from the above, it is done on the ground. It is done inside the building and not a holistic view from afar. continuous spatial experience and then assemble together based on human visual perspective when all memories of the areas were erased, how could they go on with their lives? What is their identity?

6.3.4. The Avis Ranch, USA Professor Richard Fernau attitude towards life How we respect the local people's life? How to respect the local environment?

6.3.5. Tea house Qing Dynasty vs Now

6.4. questions

6.4.1. does it mean that tradition will always remain alive?

6.4.2. how to express the authentic state of Chinese history and culture


7.1. definition on culture

7.1.1. 1982 UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies  in Mexico Culture embodies the complexity of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, fundamental rights of people, their value systems, traditions and beliefs. the arts and letters the ways of ordinary people how they live the ways people feel the values they hold the tradition and beliefs they have

7.2. culture and vernacular

7.2.1. the vernacular is the window to understanding different cultures example - chinese banyan tree + earth god temple/ ancestor hall

7.2.2. the value of understanding vernacular is synonymous to understanding the culture/culture diversity of different places

7.2.3. a fundamental expression of the culture of a community and its relationship with its people and territory.

7.3. material and culture

7.3.1. the building itself is telling us more than just bricks and stones; its cultural

7.3.2. the materials are probably less important than the meaning that is conveyed

7.4. tradition and vernacular

7.4.1. idea of tradition in V.A. the ways in which the building technology and skills from the past have persisted to the present day, through most likely an oral transmission.

7.4.2. a timeless way of building

7.4.3. William Lim - Traditional architecture is a result of man's elemental needs and his intricate relationship with the society and the environment he lives in.

7.5. people and idea of use

7.5.1. meaning and cues Meanings are communicated when cues are noticed and are understood Any noticeable physical element can be a cue and one can distinguish fixed features semi-fixed features and people and their various attributes and behaviors

7.5.2. level of meanings Amos Rapoport low-level middle-level high-level definition Approaches to the study of meaning based largely on specific methods and techniques based on linguistics and adopts semiotic models the study of symbolic ('high-level') meanings This discussion, concerned largely with users' everyday low- and middle-level meanings, takes the fourth approach and is based on models derived from non-verbal communication, developed in psychology and ethology. Non-verbal behavior has been studied mainly by observation and recording followed by analysis and interpretation.  In the case of built environments this study involves understanding how various features in buildings, spaces and  settings are interpreted by users by observing and recording the  effects that such features have on these uses through, for example,  their overt behavior, i.e. how features become cues. Meaning in Vernacular Environments environment and behaviour


8.1. Quality of Asia

8.1.1. Population Asia has both the highest and the lowest population densities.

8.1.2. climatic variance covers the extremities of climatic variance, ranging from arctic and sub-arctic, to tropical and equatorial.

8.1.3. large geographical area

8.2. The eight major climatic belts of Asia (Totally 9)

8.2.1. how vernacular architecture responds to climatic variances

8.2.2. the arctic and subarctic regions of Siberia

8.2.3. the continental climate in Mongolia and northern Asia Continental Climates primarily cold exposed to prevailing westerly winds VA example

8.2.4. desert in northern Asia around the Gobi Desert Desert Climates defined by dryness and the absence of moisture. nights are bitterly cold and days are hot and dry VA example

8.2.5. montane in the Himalayan region, Tibet and central Asia, Montane climates influenced by altitude and orientation of slopes limited sunlight VA example

8.2.6. maritime in Japan maritime climatic oceanic climate typical of most continents' middle latitudes VA EXAMPLE Climate and VA - climate is not the determinant factor, but rather their traditional religious belief.

8.2.7. sub-tropical climate in most coastal China, including Honk Kong and Macau, Subtropical climates humid and warm VA EXAMPLE hot and wet VS hot and dry

8.2.8. monsoon in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and central India. Monsoon belt VA EXAMPLE

8.2.9. Tropical and equatorial climates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and western India VA EXAMPLE houses built on stilts or on piles

8.3. Courtyard Houses

8.3.1. in almost every culture and climatic zone in the world

8.3.2. Courtyard function - serve as a modifier of micro climate to the living habitat. illuminate and ventilate the living space - courtyards intensify some aspect of the climate, such as daylight, by acting as a pocket of space open to the sky, dilute others, such as wind collect rainwater.

8.3.3. different climate expression Small vs Big courtyards north - big south - small

8.4. Coping mircroclimate

8.4.1. Site Feng shui Korean name - pungsu japan name - hokagu what

8.5. Climate vs Culture in VA

8.5.1. culture as a predominant factor that how people will live and the way people live, build their houses in response to climate, are actually responding to their cultural, or spiritual ideas.

8.5.2. building is optimized according to a number of different factors taken together, including climate.

8.5.3. culture definition - culture is not something that's by itself, but that it's coming out of the place, the topography, the climate

8.5.4. House Form and Culture, Amos Rapoport, he argued that the cultural factors were the primary determinant of the house form and not the functional climatic reasons. People are really adjusting their environment to suit themselves rather than designing a building in the first place that is adapted to the climate. Primary is culture Secondary is economics, society, politics and rituals.

8.5.5. David Lung traditional beliefs and a traditional way of living goes hand in hand

8.5.6. sustainable way of living physically and spiritually

8.6. Modern Life

8.6.1. Modern-day solutions in the provision of thermal comfort is by heating and air conditioning. Both of which rely a great deal on the availability of external energy.

8.6.2. Energy Crisis and Global Warming Solution alternative energy return to basics

8.7. Questions

8.7.1. What type of climate are you living in? To what extent are the buildings around you designed based on climate, geography, or other factors such as cultural or spiritual reasons? / Why the Japanese House today still adapting paper sliding doors as one of their construction modes. 1. Problems of lack of land, ventilation. The geography of Hong Kong is made up of mountains and near the ocean. The city is built between them causing the lack of ventilation and high humidity. As a result, have systems are heavily used in Hong Kong. 2.. The government does not have a high degree of law to regulate sustainable buildings. 3. The market is driven by developer, so they want their money used worthy on small space for large amount of flats. So not much concern with the surrounding and nature.


9.1. Definition

9.1.1. Paul Oliver A term most widely used to denote indigenous, tribal, folk, peasant and traditional architecture Vernacular is the local/regional dialect, the common speech of building

9.1.2. International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Vernacular building is the traditional and natural way by which communities house themselves It is the fundamental expression of the culture of a community, of its relationship with its territory and expression of world's cultural diversity

9.1.3. Lynn D. Distefano local dialect in built form buildings of people VS monuments to the rich and famous go to community level

9.1.4. Howard Davis context - particular time and place

9.1.5. David Lung Vernacular process vernacular architecture defines a community process of transmission of knowledge from one generation to another you are not living in a palace

9.1.6. Charter of Amsterdam vernacular architecture  = non-renewable resource vernacular architecture is a capital of irreplaceable spiritual, cultural, social, economic value

9.1.7. Others architecture without architects the adapted indigenous architecture which might be built by the non-indigenous continuous process vernacular architecture is architecture that reveals identity in local culture and history and the relationship btw ppl & context example - Mongolian Yurts

9.1.8. relationship with material material cannot be used for differentiating vernacular architecture, the technique of treating material can be vernacular

9.1.9. Recap from Week 10 The vernacular environment as discussed is an architectural tradition that belongs to the ordinary people. It is an expression of people's desire to understand the cosmic relationship with the spirit of the place, the display of family status and the daily usage of the buildings. It comprises of single dwellings or groups of buildings as well as landscape settings, all of which are to be considered as culturally and environmentally holistic environs. It is a process of transmission of knowledge from one generation to another, in rural villages, townships, as well as in cities. The building knowledge is commonly understood and shared among people of the same cultural or ethnic root. The sites, either on land or water, is directed by the guiding spirit or driven by economic factors. The buildings range from the informal to the formal, in the forms and spatial organizations. The choice of building material ranges from the very natural to the manufactured. The builders who participate in the processes can be the owners and the family members or hired professionals and craftsmen.

9.2. Questions

9.2.1. local brick + outside glass -> still vernacular?

9.2.2. must vernacular architecture be traditional? pass on traditional knowledge and skills

9.2.3. modern building = vernacular architecture? not excluded vernacular - at a particular time/ looking at community vernacular is changing due to material/economy/technology because society/people are changing

9.2.4. colonial = vernacular architecture?

9.2.5. HK public housing, tong lau, residential towers - are they vernacular architecture? look at broader image, eg. landscape and region

9.2.6. heritage = vernacular architecture? example - European castles

9.2.7. high-rise = vernacular architecture? they responds to the land and the culture of HK high-rise is necessity in HK due to land-supply

9.3. Threats in Asia to traditional vernacular architecture

9.3.1. mass production/economy factors economic homogenization example - HK

9.3.2. struggles between tradition and modernity

9.3.3. problems of obsolescence, internal equilibrium and integration

9.3.4. population growth

9.3.5. land prices

9.3.6. impact of infrastructure

9.3.7. homogenization of culture

9.3.8. environmental pressure

9.3.9. carrying capacity

9.3.10. human causes

9.3.11. natural causes

9.4. Ways to examine vernacular architecture

9.4.1. shelter

9.4.2. peasant/rural

9.4.3. traditional architecture

9.4.4. indigenous

9.4.5. primitive

9.4.6. pre-industrial

9.5. Value of vernacular architecture

9.5.1. Ways to appreciate your environment Economic Sociological Architectural Cultural Environmental Geographical Conservationist

9.5.2. How does the environment we live in help form our identities? what - identity how one see others how one see oneself values and beliefs climate size of land mobility HK VS TW

9.5.3. Can homogenization have a positive impact and trigger new form of vernacular? vernacular - indigenous homogenization - affected by political/capital/economic factors + homo facilitates the traditional techniques and challenge the old ideas - homo is erasing vernacular

9.6. Origin

9.6.1. vernacular = domestic verna=slave home-grown vernacular slaves = domestic slaves vernacular architecture = domestic architecture


10.1. material and vernacular

10.1.1. The process of building in a vernacular sense goes beyond merely construction. The choice of building materials and construction processes all embody elements of the vernacular and, as a result, the vernacular buildings carry meaning which extends beyond what can be seen by the naked eye.

10.1.2. adaptability Traditional vernacular architecture is a living cultural heritage; it has the ability and the flexibility to adapt to change to bring in modern conveniences and comfort, as long as the changes do not diminish the significance of the cultural heritage. modernization of tradition incorporation of modern materials, methods, in the building process reflects the modernization of that tradition. it does not reject the use of modern building materials, or the use of modern tools, or the supply of electricity, plumbing, drainage, or air conditioning.

10.2. types of building materials

10.2.1. natural mud, clay, wood, stone, grass, animal products and timber example Banbo, Xi'an, China earth

10.2.2. manufactured burned clay bricks, clay roofing tiles, lime and gypsum plastering used in decorations, and lime mortar used in brick constructions example glass

10.2.3. natural vs manufactured ability to adapt incorporation of new manufactured materials in vernacular buildings the replacement of manufactured materials over natural materials does not necessarily diminish the cultural value of the traditional built form. often elevates the status of the families

10.3. Building methods, structural systems, and workmanship

10.3.1. process of venacular represent the wisdom of the individual or a group, and the way this knowledge is shared and passed from one generation to the next

10.3.2. example mud in cave dwellings cliffside caves sunken caves mud towers in Fujian Province 福建土樓 either round or rectangular shape are normally three storeys high, housing about 300 inhabitants of a single clan. The structure of the building is a combination of the mud, low-bearing walls as the outer protection, and a timber frame structure in support of the three floors of the living and storage units in the interior. mud is strong Japanese thatched roof in Shirakawa-go Luban scale in China Japanese timber houses imported timber Shinto temples in Japan

10.3.3. tools and craftsmanship traditional Shinto temples are still very much replaced material, every certain now and then, by another generation of timber, and yet the timber is still nicely crafted and is still carrying on the traditional craftsmanship nowadays, looking in detail, it's not the same craftsmanship, it's not the same tools a lost art and using mechanical available

10.4. ritual and ceremonies

10.4.1. traditional vernacular architecture is a spiritual body that is housed in a physical built form. The associated rituals and rites are an essential part of vernacular architecture’s cultural value.

10.4.2. building process and rituals The building rituals, from the harvesting of building materials to the selection of auspicious days, to the start of construction, to the construction process, to the completion, and to the occupation by the owner are all guarded by the spirit.

10.4.3. example Laos offering ceremony for a tree Hong Kong roast pig offerings Indonesia buffalo horn decorations Japanese and Chinese houses ancestral altars are placed in the rear section of the house Chinese feng shui It is established, through the location and orientation of the building in an idealized landscape setting

10.5. dimensioning

10.5.1. the dimensions of buildings must be congruent with the cosmos to ensure that nothing goes against nature. to obtain the blessing of the good spirit and to achieve the best fortunes and luck

10.5.2. Vernacular architecture is a natural expression of the people.

10.5.3. dimensioning with human body example english foot

10.6. questions

10.6.1. The use of materials that are not wholly indigenous to the locality diminishes the validity of vernacular tradition of buildings. False. Vernacular building is a continuing process including necessary changes and continuous adaptation as a response to social and environmental constraints. correct

10.6.2. The dimensioning of the building is considered the most sacred aspect in keeping in touch with the cosmic realm. One cannot understand the cultural aspect of the building without understanding the dimensioning of the building. They are inextricably linked. Your views? I think dimensioning is not the most determining factor to understand culture, but it indeed played an important role. Dimensioning relates to how people experience spaces - how do you feel when mentioning bedrooms, living rooms in terms of height; how do you enter a space - is it a long corridor, is it a short foyer. Besides, dimensions relates to material characteristics, which further implies culture. However, I think it's less inefficient to understand the culture compared with other aspects such as building layouts, typologies, building context. I would say no because even if a house with the most feng-shui adhering design, not all the dimensioning and positioning would directly influence how the inhabitants use the space. In other words, the inhabitants will not use the space differently or will not form new habits because of the dimensioning of the building. It is only the fengshui master's philosophy that leads to the design. Hence the cultural cues the house give off are independent of the fengshui design of the house.