Modern Adaptation of Vernacular Architecture in modern constructions

Modern Architects have realized the significance of the simpler, Ecological principals incorporated in Vernacular Architecture and trying to adapt in modern in some form. We find something new and different in today’s architectural phenomena. It’s the form of the attempt to revoking traditions and vernacular into the modern era. With introduction to modern technologies and materials people are trying to adhere to some principles from Vernacular Architecture. The lessons learnt from Sustainable Architecture can facilitate in design of modern structures, which actually are against all ‘Green’ principals. Designers can create a sustainable environment by culminating traditional Vernacular with modern Architecture. Adaptation of Vernacular Architecture in modern constructions in terms of- ? Vernacular Architecture culminates through the appropriate use of local materials, local technologies and local people .

It is the outcome of the people’s needs at the time. It is definitely sustainable as it is a product of several experimentations. The structures themselves cannot be prototyped but the technologies and materials can be adapted for the same. Materials and technologies: The first factor influencing the development of vernacular construction practices is related to the availability of local building materials. In many areas, the locally available resources have governed the use of the following constituent materials for walls Simple plans, load-bearing walls, use of natural materials for construction… Overall, vernacular architecture is a way of living.

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The architectural and climatic adaptations that the British had developed for their own temperate climate were not applicable in Mauritius. The traditional English country house or cottage model was inappropriate in a number of ways. An English house was generally built as a tightly closed box to minimize drafts wherever possible. This was sensible in a cold climate, but not appropriate in a hot, humid climate where a bit of breeze is quite valuable in enhancing the cooling effect of evaporation. The traditional band of large south-facing windows which, in England, allowed valuable warmth from the sun to gather in the cooler months, would also have been wholly inappropriate in the hot and relentlessly sunny Mauritian climate where the sun’s penetration must be tightly controlled. The earliest British settlers in Mauritius, concerned with trade and security rather than long-term settlement, had not developed an environmentally appropriate building model for the tropical climate. Even the canvas service tents of the military, though similar in form to the simple thatched huts of the local population, were not wholly appropriate. Without the shading of a thick thatch roof, the inside temperature rose quickly.

The memoirs of one traveller who went to Mauritius in 1846 record that ‘in the soldiers’ tents, composed only of a single canvas, thermometer often rose to  47°C degrees. As the British settlers moved out of the factories and military camps to settle the interior of the country, they sought a form of affordable and reasonably comfortable dwelling that could be built with the abundant local labour. The factory model was no longer appropriate, and because the settlers were dependent on local labour outside of the cities, much of the form was adopted from the local vernacular tradition. The traditional Bengali dwelling provided a model for the British bungalow designs that developed. Travellers’ accounts provide a fairly consistent account of these buildings, which are generally referred to as bangla (or banggolo). The bangla was a thatched hut, generally built with a distinctively curved roof. The walls were generally made of mud. Where the mud was not suitable for this purpose, walls were constructed of bunches of straw or mats, tied to each other and to the bamboo frame to form walls.

Where straw was used, it was often plastered with cow dung and clay. The frame of a bangla was typically constructed entirely of bamboo, though wood posts and beams were occasionally used in the houses of the very wealthy. The thatched roof generally extended beyond the walls to provide additional shelter from the rains, and one side of the roof was often extended four or five feet beyond the wall and supported by a row of bamboo poles to create a small veranda, sometimes used as a shop. Contemporary accounts and images give no indication of a consistent orientation for this veranda.


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