Vernacular Architecture Is The Key To Climate Proofing Humanity

Vernacular Architecture Is The Key To Climate Proofing Humanity

Over the last few years, the United States has endured a year of multibillion-dollar weather disasters. There were record-breaking heat waves, a winter storm that closed cities throughout Texas, several hurricanes, record-breaking wildfires, tornadoes, and hail storms in 2021 alone. All of this caused damage to public and private property as well as hurt to people around the country.


Investing in robust infrastructure is part of preparing for even more extreme weather as a result of the climate change, which the present administration has already advocated.

While creating infrastructure may appear to be a task appropriate for futuristic technology, climate-proofing has been happening for millennia in the form of vernacular architecture across the world. This form of architecture is defined by the use of traditional materials native to that particular region. 

Vernacular architecture, also known as traditional, cultural design approaches unique to a certain region, is an alternative to the “international style” of Eurocentric housing that has resulted in identical skyscrapers, airports, malls, and gas stations across modern cities worldwide.

However, these buildings are not necessarily designed with climate change in mind, and they do not always depend on locally obtained materials or local cultural knowledge.

Pueblo architecture of Mexico and the Southwestern US can handle hot weather naturally without racking up giant energy bills.

Pueblo architecture is a well-known example of cultural and regional identity via vernacular building. Santa Fe style, a blend of Pueblo architecture and Spanish colonial architecture, is a popular resurgence in southwestern regions like Arizona and New Mexico.

Pueblo-inspired dwellings made of dried mud were frequently built with locally obtained materials.The thick mud walls are great insulation for both extreme heat and are made to protect residents from especially hot days and from cool desert nights. 

Traditional Arabian methods like as mashrabiya have been blended into renowned modern structures in Abu Dhabi, a city in one of the world’s hottest nations.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Architects in Morocco, which is particularly sensitive to climate change, have used indigenous design elements such as wide north-facing windows and smaller south-facing windows to maximize air flow for natural cooling and ventilation in public buildings such as schools.

These approaches may be utilized anywhere, even places of the world with less evident climate consequences; at the very least, they will save money on heating and cooling costs.

Reference- NOAA, CNN, Popular Science, National Geographic, Alpine