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Vernacular Architecture from across the Globe, that new-age architects must learn from!

written by Team Kaarwan

An architectural style evolves over time, but the traditional architectural style of any place cannot be buried because it is the physical manifestation of the conscious assimilation of an older truth.


Here are 7 renowned vernacular architectural styles from across the globe that must not be forgotten!

1. Newari Architecture (Kathmandu, Nepal)

These houses have an odd number of storeys, with upper floors made from wood, and lower made of sun-dried bricks, to withstand the cold climate and reduce load. For earthquake resistance, they have 30 degrees sloped gable roof covered with Jhingat tiles tied to the walls with wedges.  


2. Dzong Architecture (Bhutan)

Dzongs are fortresses that house a monastic body and civil administration. They enclose a courtyard and have a heavy load-bearing tapered stone wall and shallow sloped roofs. With vertical emphasis, white walls are embellished with carved wooden windows and cornices.


3. Shinto Architecture (Japan)

These Buddhist shrines in Japan are built entirely of hinoki cypress timber and bamboo frame without using nails or glue and are rebuilt every 20 years via a process known as Shikinen Shingu. They have a distinct hip roof with upturned gables called Chigi, adorned with Katsougi.  


4. Nubian Architecture (Egypt)

With a central courtyard for a climatic and cultural response, these structures are made of mud and gravel and have timberless vaults made of earth bricks and mortar on the roof. Mirrors, dried crocodiles, cow heads, adobe brick filigree, and geometric images in the mud are used to decorate the facades.  


5. Moroccan Architecture (Morocco)

The palaces are made up of pavilions that are arranged around a series of courtyards and riads into which all the rooms and windows open. The walls are marble and stucco, and the floors are Zellig style. These are adorned with geometric patterns, Quran verses, and colorful mosaics.  


6. Cave Houses (Santorini, Greece)

With whitewashed walls and blue domes, these houses (Yposkafo) define simplicity and adaptability. They are inhabited by residents who dug them into volcanic rock with additions constructed as superstructures. They have long spatial planning with narrow windows and facades.


7. Maori architecture (New Zealand)

The Maorians are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Their architectural features, like carved figures, front barge boards, ridge poles, and rafters, are symbolic of the human body’s structure, representing their ancestors. Carvings on their homes are inspired by Maori legends.  


Tradition is the glue that holds an ethnic group's cultural fabric together by preserving the integrity and trust of the people's beliefs as they pass down through generations. As a result, no external forces can erode cultural traditions as they are continuous and canonical.

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Team Kaarwan

Since we graduated from IIT Roorkee, we have been on a mission to democratize education through affordable online and offline workshops on industry-relevant skills, that help students gain better employability across the Indian subcontinent!