Vernacular constructions in Univerities/school studies .



I'd like to know how many of you have during in their studies dealt with a project using some traditional technics (masonry, earth, wood, etc). And what importance is this type of "design" given in the university / school curriculum ?

As from my experience, it has always been the modernist era, and beyond ?  


Feb 18, 20 12:27 pm
Non Sequitur

Dealt with all types of historical construction methods while in undergrad... either through case-studies, technical courses or through the half-dozen arch history electives.  Modern(whatever) was never, never pushed or even suggested as the main design "type".  We did what we felt was proper given our studio briefs and it was up to us to defend it.  

Stop thinking in terms of fashion.  Instead, think about creative solutions regardless of the popular label.

Feb 18, 20 1:13 pm



Some of the Architecture schools in the U.S. have a penchant of being like fashion design schools. If you are not current and leading the architectural design fashion and setting the fashion trend.... then you are a no body and not wanted in their school. It is in the culture. When your professor or dean of the architecture school dresses and acts like a fashion design prima donna then it kind of gives a cultural atmosphere.


For studio projects there was a lot of emphasis on adaptive reuse, so emphasis on vernacular in the sense of real-life existing typologies all over the world. Some of that stemmed from which upper-level studios I selected though, so at least after first year it would have been possible to focus mainly on "modernist and beyond" and to get professors who were focused that way, if I'd made other choices in the studio lotteries. In more peripheral support courses like materials, structures, and tectonics there was a lot of recreating of details/assemblies of all sorts of traditional constructions - everything from clay tile to slate roofs to straw bale to steel and concrete and beyond.

While I didn't feel that either of the schools I attended were focused away from traditional techniques, I do recall a few students who came to architecture school with already-defined precious interests - such as neoclassical stone mansions or traditional wooden boat building - who struggled in architecture school because those interests weren't widely appreciated and they were expected to set them aside to expand their focus much more broadly.  Most architecture programs are better suited toward high altitude generalists than craftsmen or regional preservationist types.

Feb 18, 20 2:12 pm

just pointing out vernacular is i forgot either an elitist or dorogatory term

Feb 18, 20 10:24 pm

It is neither in and of itself. It is a subject area I studied in my studies involving historic preservation. I can get into discussing this in more depth later but not tonight.


It was deemed derogatory in legal proceedings in India because of historical association with British oppression. It doesn't have that connotation in the US.


Hmmm..... interesting. I suppose there the word has some connotation. 

I agree with you that it isn't really universally viewed as derogatory in the U.S. I am sure there are some people in the U.S. that may view the word 'vernacular' as derogatory or associated with some elitist viewpoints where vernacular may be viewed as sub-architecture. I have heard of that view but I don't see it consistently viewed in the U.S. The U.S. doesn't have a completely consistent view or association of the word vernacular. 

As a building designer that works in historic preservation, there is an appreciation for the knowledge of such techniques of construction methods and vernacular architecture subject matter as a whole. There is a lot out there. Some methods of constructions are conceivable to work even today if carefully implemented. I kind of like the diversity there is in architectural and construction methods.


thank you , as far as I know , etymolgecally speaking, vernacular is a sort of "pegorative" term linked to slavery. In the book "learning from vernacular", vernacular is refered to as 'a technical term borrowed from the roman law, where since the first stipulation to the théodose laws, it designited as the reverse of goods: was vernacular , all what was handmade, homemade, all that was , woven , raised in house for a domestic use, not to be sold".' anyway, traditional (or old traditional) building tehniques could be included in this definition.

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