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Contemporary Vernacular Design: How British Housing Can Rediscover its Soul
Publisher: RIBA Publishing
Date Published: Nov 2016
Stock Code: 83986
Total votes: 7
Across the UK are poorly designed, brick-box housing schemes that look the same whether in Northampton or Southampton – often in a naïve attempt to replicate the ‘traditional’. So amid demands to deliver thousands of affordable new homes fast and within strict energy targets, have we lost sight of what really makes a house a home? And when the UK is such a rich composition of diversity, why can’t this be evident in our housing?
Contemporary Vernacular Design shows that it can. Selecting key examples from around the world, it presents 25 housing schemes that draw on traditional vernacular principles whilst taking into account modern day materials, methods and financial or energy requirements. These are schemes that ‘fit’ their surroundings; homes that generate a sense of place, community and regional identity.
Through first-hand site visits and interviews with both architects and residents, each case-study explores how the schemes were delivered, how they have been received by the community, and how passive principles of vernacular design were applied to create true sustainability. All framed within a wider discussion on what vernacular architecture really is today, this book provides an insightful response to the question, how can British housing rediscover its soul?
Piers Taylor, Architect & Broadcaster
A manifesto for change, this book needs to be thrust into the hands of all developers and house builders. Let us hope we can look forward to a new era of effortless vernacular place-making, using the building blocks of the versatile and appropriate housing shown here.
Dr Marcel Vellinga, Reader in Anthropology of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University
This book is an engaging and thought-provoking read that makes a strong case for what vernacular traditions, tried and tested over time and rooted in place, may offer to all those interested in contemporary architectural design.
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