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What you see when you see: Need more local architecture

By: Suresh Jayaram

Natural aesthetic quality of vernacular architecture has been substituted by a new-fangled version that is neither self-sufficient nor eco-friendly

Vernacular architecture in Bengaluru is seen in pockets, as a remnant of the past surviving amidst the buoyant economies that has fueled urbanisation. In some instances it is an alternative to the modernist cliches that are a pastiche of styles. The philosophy of vernacular architecture has become an exclusive privilege of a few. The disparities of wealth is obvious and the pressures of housing and urban planning have left architects to look back at the vernacular as a fountainhead of indigenous resources.

Sarah Edwards says in ‘Vernacular architecture and 21st century’, “The effectiveness of climate responsive architecture is evident over the course of its life, in lessened costs of utilities and maintenance. A poorly designed structure which doesn’t consider environmental or vernacular factors can ultimately cost the occupant – in addition to the environment – more in resources than a properly designed building. By applying vernacular strategies to modern design, a structure can ideally achieve net zero energy use, and be a wholly self-sufficient building. If anything is to be taken from vernacular architecture, it provides a vital connection between humans and the environment. It re-establishes us in our particular part of the world and forces us to think in terms of pure survival – architecture before the architect. These structures present a climate-responsive approach to dwelling and are natural and resource conscious solutions to a regional housing need. The benefits of vernacular architecture have been realized throughout the large part of history, diminished during the modern era, and are now making a return among green architecture and architects. In order to progress in the future of architecture and sustainable building, we must first gain knowledge of the past and employ…

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