Did you know that vernacular architecture is often completed without the direction of a professional architect? The knowledge of construction workers who build and create with local materials distinguishes this type of architecture.
Here at IVANNOVATION we love languages, cultures, and architecture, and we love doing construction translations. That’s why we’re excited to share the following 10 unique examples of vernacular architecture found around the world.
Vernacular Architecture Around the World
We can find this first work of vernacular architecture on Paseo Boricua in Chicago, Illinois. According to a second-hand source of the photographer, it was built in 1895. Influenced by the Moors, Moorish architecture is characterized by distinct elements of design, like Arabic calligraphy, curved arches, ornamental tile work, and vegetative design.
The dreamy resort house above, in Whitefish, Montana, features alpine vernacular architecture. Alpine architecture arose from the practical reaction to the “concrete needs” of those who lived in the mountains in the past. Buildings created in this style were built of stone or wood, or a combination of both. Fun fact: for insulation, raw materials like sheep’s wool, wood fiber, or rock wool are used.
Masseria Fellicchie, in Manduria, Italy, is the location of this beautiful white-wall, and red-door structure. The owners turned the inside of this farmhouse into a vacation home that features all-white ceramics from Grottaglie, a town in the province of Taranto in southern Italy, close to Manduria. The name Grottaglie comes from “grottoes”, and this small town has thrived off the creation of aesthetic, handmade ceramics.
Maison Antoine-Lacombe, pictured above, is found in Saint-Charles-Borromée, Quebec. This home is a historic monument built in 1847, making it one of the oldest homes in the Joliette region. The stone home still has some of its original architectural elements, whereas others were added later on. All the floors are said to still be originals and are made from pine wood, which was probably chosen because of its thickness, sturdiness, and resistance to humidity.
Here is another example of a farmhouse featuring vernacular architecture in a much different location; Sannat, Malta. This house, called the Barumbara Farmhouse, features stone masonry, a type of building masonry construction using mortar and stones. The Barumbara house has thick stone walls, which help keep the inside cool.
The Newlin Grist Mill stone house, above, was established in 1704. A grist mill (also: gristmill, feed mill, etc.) is used for grinding cereal grain into flour and bulked goods. We can use the term either for the building where it’s stored or the actual grinding mechanism. And it follows the English vernacular architectural style of the 18th century, which includes a chimney on each gable end and a central door.
We cannot find much online about this abandoned home built in the style of a teepee in Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But teepees are an excellent example of Native American vernacular architecture. Traditional teepees include a fabric covering in leather, and a pole frame made of light wood. They are handmade, nomadic houses, built to be mobile, modular, and lightweight.
New York, USA
Here we have another form of rural vernacular architecture; the Parker 13-Sided Barn in Jefferson, New York. Built in 1896, it fits the description of a “round barn”, a historic barn design that can be circular, octagonal, or polygonal. It has a hipped roof with a double slope and a 13-sided dome-shaped roof. Earlier round barns were more wood-sided, whereas later versions were more commonly built of glazed tile or brick. The reason for building a barn in this shape was to save money, since fewer resources were needed.
The photographer of this traditional, New England home in Wiscasset, Maine, knows her vernacular architecture! If you visit her original post above, you can see her interpretation of its architectural style. Cape Cod homes are often single story, have a central chimney, and a gabled roof. The effortless, congruous design resisted the blunt, stormy weather of Cape Cod using local materials. Like this home, Cape Cod cottage-style houses had wooden shingles, clapboard, or shutters.
To end on a sunny note, here we have a Florida cottage on the 7-Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys (Marathon Key). Compared to our past examples of vernacular architecture, this one is a much more modern style dating back to the 1970s. Colorful, vintage cottages and elaborate latticework are staples in the architecture of the Florida Keys. The top three elements that make these houses stand out are their ornate shutters, bright colors, and wrap-around verandas.
We hope you’ve all learned something new about architecture in the vernacular style and all the original kinds that exist around the world! Whether for cost-saving purposes, limited resources or weather resistance, this type of architecture allows people to build in a way that fits their needs without a specific design style by a professional architect.
Gisel Olivares, Content Editor + Creator + Curator at her online business, GeeOlives. GeeOlives provides social media management, copywriting and editing, web customization and development, and graphic design, among other related services to small businesses, nonprofits, and sustainable brands. She has a love for languages, traveling, social media, and writing. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and still working on perfecting her French while living in France.