Designing for Achievement of Sustainable Vernacular Patterns in a Cultural Context

Document Type : Original Articles


Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Studies, University of California System and Virginia Tech.


Traditional wisdom in vernacular design can be a guiding light for our design approach today. All of the important pressing issues of our time, such as environmental sustainability, ecology, and meaning are an intricate part of a vernacular process of design. Vernacular architecture is the physical manifestation of a specific culture. The consideration of patterns of behaviour in the design process ensures the reflection of cultural identity and meaning in the proposed alternatives. In vernacular design the range of ideas are constrained in advance and are limited to a specific community or intended audience. The sustainable approach is embedded in a vernacular design which stems from a sense of oneness with nature. This article includes a variety of case studies related to vernacular architecture. Vernacular ways of building stem from a vernacular lifestyle and belief system. Lessons from this design process show us how to bring the sense of place back to any context.