Week 1: Interpreting the Vernacular
A relatively new field of study, vernacular architecture does not yet have a commonly-agreed definition. This first week we examine several definitions of vernacular architecture and discuss why the topic is especially pertinent in the context of Asia.Alongside the expert discussions and examples,wefurther discuss the notion that culture is a form of tradition and connect it with Asia's vernacular architecture.
Week 2: Climate, Building Materials, and the Vernacular
Vernacular buildings are local and very much influenced by local factors, two of which are climate and local building materials.This week we study how the eight major climatic belts influence people's building decisions. We also look at how people make use of locally available materials, and how construction methods and building rituals are passed from one generation to the next.
Week 3: Vernacular Landscapes and the Rural Built Environment
This week we talk about the vernacular landscape. We define what it is, the meaning of it, and through the lens of the rural vernacular environment, we appreciate the seemingly un-self-conscious process of building that is indeed timeless.
Week 4: The Urban Vernacular
This week we focus on cities, or the urban vernacular. We discuss the process through which the urban vernacular is built, we also delve deep into topics such as sense of place, types of urban vernacular buildings, and how the urban vernacular evolves over time.
Week 5: Informal Settlements
Have you ever paid any attention to the slum areas in cities? Why do they exist? Are they of any significance or vernacular value to people and society? Termed informal settlements, we look at these built environments in cities through economic, cultural, and social lenses, and connect this unique type of urban vernacular with the future of cities.
Week 6: Sustainable Conservation and the future of Asia 's Vernacular Architecture
In this concluding week, we differentiate conservation from preservation and discuss the challenges and approaches to conservation of Asia's vernacular built environment. We also discuss the future of vernacular architecture in Asia by contrasting tradition and modernity, and by asking the question of how they can coexist. We argue that the best way to ensure the continuation of the built heritage in Asia is to view vernacular architecture as a living tradition that evolves with time but without losing its cultural value.