What first comes to mind when we think about vernacular architecture? Hobbit homes? Strawbale constructions? Greek temples? Is vernacular a quality that emerges from a sensible and conservative design process? Is it a way of framing architectural
practice and discourse to prevent historical discontinuity? Moreover, what is the relevance of the vernacular as a concept in a fully globalized and technology-based world?
Arguably, we would envision vernacular architecture as a low-tech construction built according to local knowledge and according to traditional materials. However, once we delve into the subject-matter, this seemingly consensual definition soon
becomes too shallow, insufficient, and inoperative. From our stance, Architecture can be thought of as both the process of transformation of the material environment by human beings and an assembled artifact continuously altered and
improved by use and circumstance, in constant degradation and repair before the aggression of time, permanently perishing and renewing itself. On the other hand, Vernacular, broadly and simply put, means native to a country or region,
immediately raising questions regarding cultural identity, implicating a low scale logistic operation. As a result, the vernacular is a concept rooted in the anthropological relationship between the human, the available resources, and the
surrounding natural setting, throwing us back in time to explore the origins of architecture itself.
Throughout the course, we will critically challenge the subject of vernacular architecture, by testing its boundaries, its significance and its pertinence in the light of contemporary thought. We will be traveling to diverging geographies from
our personal atlas connecting Portugal, Amazonia, Patagonia and West Africa: an access point to gain perspective regarding a set of preconceptions typically attached to essential qualities of the architectural object.
Through film, maps, drawings, photos and visual diagrams we will cross-referencing notions typically associated with the vernacular such as local/common/traditional/homegrown/contextual / grassroots with their architectural historical precedents,
theoretical underpinnings and their regional economic and ecologic ramifications.
The vernacular is a contemporary condition and also our common destiny. It reinforces the architectural potential of gathering and expressing a shared commons, implying a somewhat paradoxical aspiration to a sense of universality that, as a result,
can become an invaluable tool to recompose the inherent and deeply rooted interconnections between architecture, its history, it's legacy and the environment.