Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorize methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural, and historical context in which it exists. It has often been dismissed as crude and unrefined, but also has proponents who highlight its importance in current design.
It can be contrasted against polite architecture which is characterized by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building’s functional requirements.
The building knowledge in vernacular architecture is often transported by local traditions and is thus based largely – but not only – upon knowledge achieved by trial and error and handed down through the generations, in contrast to the geometrical and physical calculations that underlie architecture planned by architects. This of course does not prevent architects from using vernacular architecture in their designs or from being firmly based in the vernacular architecture of their regions.
“Vernacular architecture.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 9 Apr 2009, 10:15 UTC. 13 Apr 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Vernacular_architecture&oldid=282739563>.