Vernacular Arch.

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Newsgroups: alt.architecture
Subject: Vernacular Arch.
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
From: [email protected]
Date: 4 Oct 93 19:42:46 -0500
Organization: Miami University Academic Computer Service"
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Concedes Tsuchiya's points:)

The points Tsuchiya brought up about vernacular architecture inspired me to say
a little something about the field...
Recently I have been doing some readings in vernacular architecture, and it may
be surprising to learn that the major body of research and scholarly writing on
the subject comes nor from architects, but from Cultural Geographers, the
foremost being Fred Kniffen, and Henry Glassie. The reason for this avoidance
of the topic among architects seems to me to be a general disregard for the
importance of the vernacular as subordinate to "High Design"; most of us, as
architects, or students, are somehow trained to believe that everything we grew
up with is crap. I would propose that this is an inherently bad practice.
One need only look at the architecture of R. Venturi (and most of his firm) to
see some of the influences that vernacular can have on High Design, per se.

Some of the points that Glassie makes in his book, _Folk Housing in Middle
Virginia_, are worth noting here. Glassie did a survey of about 300 houses in
Louisa Co, VA, looking at the method and process of the designs of Vernacular
housing. Through his research, Glassie established a systemof rules that was
followed by most construction in the study. This system, he explains, is a
subconcious dessign aesthetic that governs the architecture of the area.
Linking this to the culture he was studying, he concludes in a more general
sense, that although the solutions to design problems are infinite, preferences
for a certain set are consistent within cultural groups. My question is, how
do people view that premise in today's society? Can there be a destinction made
between the architecture of different cultural groups within America today?
( The book was published in 1975...)

Through his efforts in describing a "set of rules" for the design of a
particular culture's vernacular architecture, I feel as though Glassie elevates
the vernacular to a level on par with High Design. How should we as students
of architecture treat the vernacular then?

Enough for now
Weston Blaney

Kniffen, Fred. "Folk Housing: Key to Diffusion". 1965.

Glassie, Henry. _Folk Housing in Middle Virginia_. 1975.
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