Lecture Series Focuses on Vernacular, Local Architecture

burkino-faso photo.jpg

Image from Kere Architecture

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is presenting a series of lectures about architecture and climate change. While many of TreeHugger's readers won't be attending, the internationally based architects and projects being discussed show the range of sustainable work being built in countries such as Burkino Faso and Sri Lanka.

It is fascinating to see how local, vernacular architecture can be adapted to modern-day needs. The same principles that were behind the initial design of so-called "primitive" buildings can be modified for present day use, using cheap locally sourced materials. And these guys should know, because they have all done it in their own countries.

kere school photo

Image from Kere Architecture: Primary School

First off is Professor Paul Oliver who is one of the world's foremost authorities on vernacular architecture and wrote an encyclopedia about it (as well as being a blues expert). This expert will discuss "the future of vernacular building traditions and their role in creating sustainable, culturally vibrant, people-orientated habitats."

Francis Kéré is an architect from Burkina Faso who designs sustainable architecture and is committed to the use and development of traditional building among local communities. His projects are designed to combine climatic comfort with low-cost construction, making the most of local materials and the potential of the local community. For example the school shown above which is light and airy but also raises awareness in the local community of the merits of traditional materials.

sri-lanka photo

Image from Asia Society

Sri Lankan architect, C. Anjalendran has built the SOS Children's Village orphanages throughout Sri Lanka. His projects are created from cheap locally sourced materials, and consume minimal energy. Some of his houses are super-luxurious but they all use local materials and reflect the indigenous architecture.

The last one in the series is called Architecture and Climate Change. Dr. R.K Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Director General of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), India and Professor John Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change, will discuss climate change, sustainable solutions and the future international agenda.

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