Local construction is Vernacular architecture, outlined by the use of locally available materials, practices and knowledge. Being practical, local and typical to the location is this type of building, overlooking histories of traditional designs. Not being one specific style, these structures are part of regional culture, simply said as “architecture without architects” in turn being climate responsive. Traditional architecture exists based upon authentic themes, built environment based upon local needs, portraying regional materials, reflecting local cultural practices and traditions. As tradition and vernacular are linked but not being the same, as traditional structures comprises of shrines, temples etc. Vernacular architecture, a vision for innovations in environmental and socio-economically sustainable design and planning. Architecture of this kind originated when mankind was pushed to use the natural resources around, that provides shelter and comfort responsive to local climate.
Producing a sustainable design being energy conscious with contemporary feel attached delivers the design skills of local builders, built in accordance with basic fundamental principles adapting to the needs of the regional inhabitants and regional conditions; this architecture type features a free flowing and uninterrupted connect with its native surroundings without losing the design’s proportion. One dominant characteristic aspect of vernacular architecture is that materials used for building are sourced locally to build dwellings in order to satisfy the basic human need for shelter. The essential aspects of vernacular architecture are durability, sustainability and versatility. The basic objective includes producing functional buildings and designs. Vernacular traditions endure for different climates, materials and cultures, keeping our traditions alive, shaped by a vast diversity of elements and features from history and the rich vibrant civilization, culture and practice.
The problems of stylish design and building style do not emerge in vernacular architecture because the most important need is to provide elemental housing for the occupants. In traditional housing, the intended climatic conditions and environmental solutions within sustainable design process have already been accomplished by local implementations.
As said by the renowned Indian architect, the late Charles Correa insisted, “In this, the old architecture – especially from vernacular – has much to teach us, as it always develops a typology of fundamental sense.”
Designers and architects lately embrace regionalism and cultural traditions proving energy efficiency making the structures sustainable. There are lots to be learned from the traditional proficiency of vernacular architecture at this time of fast technological improvement and urbanization. These low-tech techniques of creating housing which is perfectly adapted to its locality are brilliant, for the reason that these are the aspects, principles and features which are more often neglected by prevailing designer and architects. The design process comprises of green architectural principles as the structures capitalize on native knowledge. Collecting the local materials comprising the building structure is the major predominant task, influenced by a vast range of various aspects of human attitude and environment, leading to various construction styles for almost every different context; even adjoining villages may have subtly different approaches to the construction and use of their habitats, even if they at first appear unique.
The most significant influences of vernacular architecture, climate on the first place, culture being the second and environment, construction elements and materials take the large final aspect that influence. The main and the foremost aspect is climate as it shows the most important influences on vernacular architecture, the macro climate of the locality is taken largely into discussion where the building is constructed. On the next stage on the appearance and look of the vernacular buildings culture has a great influence in it, as dwellers often spruce up the spaces of the buildings in accordance with local practices, beliefs and customs. Great significance on building forms are by the way of living by the occupants in the house, and the way they use their houses. The layout and size of houses is affected by the size of the unit of the family, who shares which spaces in the house, how food is made and had, how habitants interact and many other cultural and traditional considerations. The final influential aspect of vernacular architecture is the environment where the site lies and the construction material the region can provide.
“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” – Charles Eames
The result of constrains on availability of resources and materials in the local region around helps to uphold the local architecture, built on sustainable fundamentals such as wealth limitations enforced by economic or natural conditions, yet succeeded in offering rational solutions to harsh climatic conditions and human requirements. Using local materials has the obvious prosperity of reducing the significant environmental impacts of transporting materials long distances. In the eyes of many, it has less tangible benefits such as encouraging vernacular building styles, supporting the local economy, and connecting users directly with the impacts of their choices.
A building built in accordance to adapt or react to the local climatic and environmental conditions are climate responsive buildings, responding to the internal and external climatic condition helps in designing to occupant intervention. The design process flows in such a way, that the design proportionally responses to the climate and climate in turn responding and playing inside the building and its architectural features. An integrated building concept combined with elements, energy strategies, material usage and sustainable building system deliver a potential design solution accomplishing the vernacular components.
“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” – Frank Gehry
Places with large population of trees will develop a wooden vernacular, while regions lacking much wood in the place may use other materials such as mud or stone. Vernacular can also be said as sustainable thus will not exhaust the local materials and resources, if it is not suitable for local context then it cannot be vernacular and not sustainable. Construction elements and building materials frequently found in vernacular structures include: Adobe, Bamboo, Thatch, Bad girs, Laterite, Cob, Timber, Mashrabiya, Stone, Mud bricks, granite, Rammed earth, Wychert . Certain characteristic features of vernacular architecture are usage of traditional or locally available building skills, incorporating commonly available materials, usage of simple technology, functionalistic designs fulfilling basic needs of the inhabitants their culture, tradition, adapting to local climate.
An essential part to determine the integrity of the architectural regionalism is Sustainability in architecture. India has rich vernacular traditions, presenting a varied range of vernacular styles, the Indian vernacular architecture characteristic is found in different rural regions of the country, built with native local materials which are designed to meet the needs of the local dwellers. It has evolved progressively over time with the help of skilled craftsmanship. For successful implementation in the final design deliverable it is important to dedicate the vernacular knowledge to the process with the aim to synthesis potential dwellings for the occupants of their native surrounding.