FEM | Anonymous und Truthful: The Essence of Vernacular Architecture

  Felsenkirche in Lalibela Copyright: © Bernard Gagnon (mod.)  

In 1964, architect and cultural historian Bernard Rudofsky criticized the bias and arbitrary selectivity of the way architectural history was being considered to date. In his book "Architecture without Architects" he focused attention on the creative work of anonymous architects for the first time. Form and character of the traditional structures that Rudofsky examined and termed "vernacular" – from the Latin "vernaculus" meaning "native" – are the direct results of engagement with locally found materials, the location's topography, its climate, and furthermore of the structure's genuine functional purpose, which it seemingly fulfills quite naturally.

Over the course of the semester, we will encounter the most varied kinds of structures, created out of stone, brick, wood, and clay, which we will cross-culturally examine with regard to their function and character, their typology and architectural topoi in order to work out the wealth of expression and adaptive ability of vernacular architecture. To what extent can these structures be considered exemplary with regard to their immediacy, their locality, their being true to the given materials, and their sense of purpose? How are they taking us back to the origins and key questions, or even the core of architecture's essence? What can we learn from them?

In this regard, will will also discuss and critically examine the role of today's architects who continue building in traditional contexts. Which examples of contemporary architecture can be considered similarly exemplary with regard to the above parameters? Which (design) criteria do we need to pay attention to?



Elective Module
M.Sc. | All Semesters


Introduction: June 8, 2018, 12 noon, AGes Library
Mentoring : June 13, 20 and 27, and July 4, 11 and 18, 2018, AGes Library
Compact seminar: Four days in calendar week 30 (July 23 to 27), AGes Library


Dipl.-Ing. Architektin Verena Hake