Rehabilitating the lost spirit of Iranian vernacular architectural patterns in contemporary approaches (How vernacular architecture can reclaim its soul)

Grantham Scholar Omid Ebrahimbaysalami researches vernacular architecture with a focus on learning lessons about sustainability, energy consumption and cultural identity. 

The project

Nowadays, environmental threat is connected with climate change and the overuse of regular fossil fuels and continues in all fields, particularly in the building industry.

Over the last few decades, the concept of sustainable architecture – by trying to reduce adverse environmental effects of the modern building – has made critical changes to architecture. One of the most highlighted areas in sustainable architecture is learning from vernacular architecture, which has methods proven by decades of experimental practices. Its advantages could help achieve 3 SDGS (SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy). Vernacular architecture could also address some fundamental social problems.

Although various researches have proven the benefits of vernacular architecture methods, the speed of its replacement with contemporary buildings has increased in recent years, particularly in rural areas of undeveloped countries. Further, use of pre prepared plans that don’t consider a site’s environmental, social, and architectural patterns have caused an immense number of social and ecological problems, such as overuse of energy and loss of identity.

In other words, most of the previous research works with documents and/or reports rather than factual practice. In response to this, this research aims to turn rhetoric into real action in order to prevent the destruction of vernacular architecture knowledge. This project will address a few vital questions. How can vernacular architecture reclaim its soul in contemporary approaches? To what extend does learning from the Iranian vernacular architecture address significant issues on reducing energy consumption and building a sustainable society?

Overall, this research aims to rehabilitate the spirit of vernacular architecture so it can find its place in modern methods and continue its adaptation to change. It will simultaneously consider current lifestyle needs, environmental issues, and traditional identity. Outcomes could address social and ecological problems by focusing on the future and initiate a new discourse in vernacular architecture studies.

Case study

The case study will be in Iran, where recently the rich architecture of its rural areas has been negatively impacted by industrial stereotypes for a better future.

Find Omid Ebrahimbaysalami online

You can find Omid on LinkedIn.



Dr Xiang Ren