Can vernacular building practices and traditional ways of building offer some (re)newed insights into sustainability in the current built environment?
In June 2020, the digital workshop ‘(Nordic) Vernacular Architecture -analysing intrinsic architectural sustainability’ was conducted with 2nd and 3rd-year students of unit 2/3 F.
The workshop involved studying vernacular architecture and traditional building types in Northern Europe, examining the influence of geographical context and local culture on their built form. The outcome was analysed to identify five sustainable aspects resulting from either the physical landscape or local culture. Finally, these sustainable aspects were related to a contemporary architectural project utilising similar sustainable aspects to the ones deriving from the vernacular building practice.
The learning objective was to challenge the notion of sustainability as being a separate and complex engineering discipline. Instead, the students were invited to approach sustainability from a perspective of their own common-sense aided by a few inputs on basic building physics and vernacular building practices.
In a research context, workshop constituted the first step of the PhD-project ‘Architectural Sustainability as a Cultural Practice’ by Stine Dalager Nielsen, articulating and testing a basic framework for reflecting on architectural sustainability to (re)introduce this as an integrated architectural practice in the contemporary design- and construction process.