Pre to post industrial transformation of Vernacular Architecture

College Episodes

Studio Conductors

Ar. Rajratna Jadhav

The Human society before the advent of the industrial revolution was markedly different from where it is tending to go presently and in future. Traditionally, Eastern societies in general have had an integrated, holistic and cyclical worldview as compared to the West where rationalism has been the basis of thought since the 17th century. The industrial revolution is a result of this rational thinking. The industrial revolution gave rise the possibility of mechanized and large-scale production of goods. This has transformed architecture including vernacular architecture. 

From Pre-Industrial to Post-Industrial era, there is a shift seen from a hand-production society to a service-oriented society. These differences in thought and approach are reflected in the architectural progressions of the two worlds since the last few hundred years. The West now has a more or less monolithic culture of architecture with variations based on idiosyncratic ideas and structurally or environmentally derived approaches to architecture, while the East has a distinctive dichotomy between traditional architecture and what is now called modern architecture—a result of the influences from the colonial rule up to today’s globally interconnected culture. 

The Larger Questions:

What are the transformations in the culture and production that vernacular architecture has undergone over the past decades? What is the present situation? Where is vernacular architecture headed in the near and distant future? Will vernacular architecture survive, eventually? Will it transform as a hybrid of the old with the new? 

In this College Project, therefore, students were required to independently or in pairs explore the past and the present situation in the West and in the East. Students selected a few countries or regions to do the study.

Specific issues explored (these maybe modified depending upon time available and students’ progressive output):

1. Method of production of vernacular architecture in the region or country

2. Examination of the region’s/country’s vernacular architecture from the viewpoint of Amos Rapoport’s House Form and Culture.

3. Transformation of society and its vernacular architecture from the pre-industrial to the industrial and then on the post-industrial realm.

4. Comparison of the three stages of evolution.

5. Projecting a speculative scenario of where vernacular architecture will head in the near and distant future.

The study also understood the transformation to the modern in the vernacular architectural realm. Through the project, the students produced illustrated reports that showed the reasons for and stages, if any, of the transformation of life and vernacular architecture in their respective regions with speculations of future scenarios.