Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular architecture involves the construction method in which local available resources and traditional material are used. Vernacular architecture involves the environmental features, culture and historical context of the place. This architecture is considered as basic architecture which allows the usage of material in their raw form.
On the island of Kauai, Hawaii, plantation cottage style was developed in the era of sugar plantation. This type of architecture is indigenous to specific time or place where it is used. Mostly, residential buildings are constructed using this type of architecture.

Influences on Vernacular Architecture


  • Climates of the place where building is constructed, influences the vernacular architecture. In places having cold climate construction include high insulation features and high thermal mass. Windows are generally made smaller in size and the openings are sealed off to prevent heat loss.
  • Buildings in the places having warmer climate are built using lighter material. Proper ventilation is maintained throughout the inner space of the structure.
  • At the places having continental climate, building features should be able to withstand the variations in temperature. This building should provide a comfortable space for its occupants according to the seasons.
  • The places having high precipitation are usually built with sloping roof instead of flat roof. This slope roof prevents accumulation of snow, water.
  • Mediterranean vernacular and architecture of the Middle East includes a courtyard with a fountain or pond. The surrounding air gets cooled by water mist. Evaporation takes places and hence makes the inner space becomes comfortable and soothing for occupants.
Culture of the occupants also influences the architecture of the building. The size of the building and inner spaces depends on the number of members living in it. The style of inner space depends on their eating habits and on their interaction. The layout of the house depends on other cultural considerations.
  1. East African tribe built their house in a group but separate their single roomed houses by marking boundaries. These single room houses are built for each member of family.
  2. In Western Europe, in single house there are boundaries for separating each room from other.
  3. The appearance of the buildings depends on the decorative items. Thus people living in different regions decorate their houses with different traditional items.
  4. The use of wood is common in the architecture of the place having large number of trees.
Environmental conditions and material used governs the characteristics of Vernacular architecture.

Vernacular Architecture

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