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Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular architecture is a broadly defined term to mean the art of or buildings that are built for an owner or the community reflecting traditional know-hows of construction. It can be built by professionals using local and tradition materials and designs. It can also be built by amateurs who have been locally guided and do not take into consideration fashions. Vernacular architecture shows growing interest in many parts of the world and originally in Britain. This is from its publications and membership of the Vernacular architecture group formed in 1952 to study traditional buildings.

Why vernacular architecture varies

Vernacular architecture varies in different areas with many factors. The permanency of the building is reflected in how it will be constructed. The frequently moved dwellings are simple and less costly because they are not a one-time cost buildings. The permanent dwellings are built using heavier and more durable materials to offer a greater degree of protection from such elements as floods and high winds.

The way of life of the occupants building the dwellings affect the forms the buildings take. This is dictated by the level of privacy that should be accorded to those living in them and decoration which is in line with the local customs and beliefs. There are family units that are surrounded by marked boundaries to separate single rooms for different members of the family like in East African communities.

The external climate surrounding the area of construction influences the type of building for example temperature and rainfall.Inorder to prevent heat loss in cold areas, the buildings are sealed and have several accounts of insulation. In areas where the temperature vary seasonally, buildings are built in such a way that they can cope with the variations.Nomadics have also developed appropriate responses to customs of climate changes relating to their nomadic ways.

Types and examples of vernacular architecture

Vernacular architecture existed mainly in houses. There are those that were single users and those for multi users. Huts were built with ready materials such as wood, stones, palm leaves and hides. Among the types of huts were Barabara which was a home sheltered for the winter and Barracks which were temporary. Barracks are used today to mean military housing and storages for grass.

There is the Shot gun cottage popular in the southern United States. The mountain hut is another example of vernacular architecture which was used to provide shelter for hikers and mountaineers.


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