The Natural Vernacular

Thermal Mass

The vernacular architecture of NM takes advantage of the thermal mass of adobe, collecting the heat from the sun in the day to re-radiate it at night.

In an academic sense, the notion of a vernacular architecture has commonly been derived from an idiomatic, regionally specific reading of building practices and habitation.  Broadening this reading of the vernacular, the performative characteristics of local species and ecosystems also provide a compelling indigenous ‘language’, a Natural Vernacular, which can be deployed to challenge the existing, sometimes staid design pedagogies around sustainable design.

Vernacular design seeks to continue a conversation about local building practices in a given site.  Natural Vernacular design takes that notion a step further, the local built environment is studied as well as the survival mechanisms of the local flora and fauna.  Observations of biological evolutions can give a designer more insight into creating a truly sustainable design in situ.

Thermal Mass

Looking to solve the same problem and working with the same available materials, Swallows form their homes using mud and straw

We have looked at this way of designing previously in research studios we have taught centered around biomimicry.    In biomimicry nature is mined for patterns of survival, performative characteristics.  The idea of a Natural Vernacular looks at both the strategies of the local built environment, or built vernacular while cross referencing natural evolutionary performances.

By researching both the biological responses to a problem and indigenous vernacular solutions, inspiration can be found to make a project more sustainable and potentially much more elegant as well.


About clarkrichardson

Clark Richardson Architects practice design with the goal of creating contemporary architectural experiences through form, sustainability and detail. We specialize in green building, sustainable residential and commercial design and have architectural studios in Santa Fe and Austin and a design studio New Orleans.
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One Response to The Natural Vernacular

  1. Quemao Viejo says:

    Nice post.
    I think we’ve got much to learn about the way nature provides shelter to different animals.

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