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Contemporary Vernacular Architecture

Contemporary Vernacular Architecture-The Pebble House
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Contemporary vernacular architecture is probably a new thing to most people. So, is this can be a thing? Does it even make sense? That is why in this post, I will present our very own interpretation of what is this contemporary vernacular design that we believe could be the design for future homes.

But first, before we go on, a little bit of explanation of the words “contemporary” and “vernacular” architecture.

Contemporary Architecture

Contemporary architecture is the architecture of the 21st century – the current style of architecture. Also, it reflects our current view, that is, being open and inclusive to ideas. In contemporary architecture, no style is dominant, everything can be included. In other words, there is no stopping to the ideas that contemporary architecture can offer.

Reflections at Keppel Bay. Photo credit, Stankn / CC BY-SA

Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular architecture is very local. It is a style that reflects the regional culture. It is also practical because it uses locally available materials as building materials. Plus, the style is dependent on the regional climate, so expect a building that adapts to the local natural environment of the place. So I probably would say that vernacular is quite restrictive, for a building depends on what the local culture and climate has to offer. 

The Blackhouse Museum, an example of Scottish Vernacular Architecture. Photo credit, Tdecember at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

The two concepts of “contemporary” and “vernacular” seem opposing to each other that combining them is not possible. Well, contemporary architecture is so unrestrictive that it can go out of control and possibly could produce messy and impractical designs. On the contrary, vernacular is so restrictive that it is unable to adapt and can go out of style.

Contemporary Plus Vernacular

Usually, nature seeks balance, so does design. Here, contemporary vernacular architecture tries to balance what contemporary and vernacular architectures have to offer. In this design, the dynamic and innovative design concept meets with the traditional and practical design concept of the region.

The Site.

The house is visioned to be on the northernmost islands of the Philippines, in the Batanes Islands. The climate is tropical and the regions a known path of tropical cyclones, so during typhoon seasons, the region expects strong winds over a hundred kilometers an hour in speed. Also, the coastal location of the house means that it will experience a strong breeze from the sea.

batanes rolling hills
Batanes Islands’ rolling hills. Photo Credit: Glendale Lapastora’s Pictures (Official) Flickr via Compfight cc
Rocky beach of Batanes. Photo Credit, anne_jimenez / CC BY

But, despite the possibly harsh weather, the house is envisioned on one of the most breath-taking views on the country. The strong breeze from the sea gave birth to gently rolling grasslands. The strong waves from the sea also created dramatic clifts and rocky beaches.

The Precious Pebble House

The local houses on the island tell a lot about the culture and especially the local climate. Stone houses made of corals are the traditional architectural styles. These houses are made of thick stone walls to withstand strong winds. This style of constructing a house is an example of vernacular architecture works- adapting to its local environment. 

The native Ivatan houses in Batanes. Houses are usually made with limestones and corals. The thick walls are designed to withstand strong winds. Photo credit, anne_jimenez / CC BY.

To include the contemporary spirit to the design, we taught, why not make the design aerodynamic and the inspiration are the pebbles on the river stream.

Pebbles on the river are the inspiration for this design. Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash.
Contemporary Vernacular Architecture
The stone cladding reflects the traditional stone houses of the island.
Contemporary Vernacular Architecture
Like pebbles on the river stream, the house is embedded on the ground.
Contemporary Vernacular Architecture-The Pebble House
Large windows permits the entry of natural light. It also provides the breath-taking view of the sea.

In conclusion, the goal of our design is to showcase the contemporary vernacular architecture style. We believe that the rich methods of traditional construction should meet with innovative design concepts. Keeping in mind tradition and innovation in designing means presenting the design to the future – a key to an immortal style.

Design Gallery

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Check-out our post, Mashrabiya in Contemporary Architecture.

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