Local Architecture Vs Vernacular Architecture

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1. Introduction
‘Local architecture’, used primarily to describe traditional, vernacular and indigenous architecture, narrates an architectural story from days gone by. As with any language which is typified by local dialects and nuances so is the architectural language of any region. There is no ‘one’ vernacular or language of Southern Africa, but several historical vernaculars that have merged with time. There has been a resurgence in interest in indigenous and vernacular architecture, driven by the need to find better ways of utilising limited environmental resources through low impact climatic and technological solutions – emphasizing local building approaches, materials and skills (Marschall & Kearney, 2000). In this paper we will consider
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For example windows in houses in the warmer southern hemisphere should be designed to face north, decreasing the amount of sun that enters the building in summer, and minimizing energy use to artificially cool the space. Homes that are well insulated require less energy to either cool or heat in order to attain a comfortable temperature. Other relevant considerations include incorporating as much natural light as possible through skylights, reducing excessive dependence on artificial lighting, thermal insulation of floors, walls and roofs, use of overhangs (verandahs) to provide shade, and natural vegetation to block the wind and provide needed shade. The use of ‘clean natural energy’ supplies is an indispensable precursor to slowing down the endless demand for energy and reducing fossil fuel use (BGS,…show more content…
Improving energy efficiency in these practices more specifically requires a change in behaviour, and furthermore (if financial resources permit) an investment in low-cost product choices. Such changes and investments call for simple deeds – switching appliances off when not in use, reducing excessive heating and cooling, turning the geyser down and using less hot water, fitting a solar water heater, installing efficient lights, and insulating the roof and geyser (Smart Building Handbook, 2012).
In the architectural context the principle of ‘energy efficiency’ is often equated with the developmental values of ‘green buildings’. Guiding philosophical guidelines aiming at achieving this ‘energy efficient green objective’ embrace local appropriateness, minimising waste, conserving the natural environment, efficient and effective use of resources, utilisation of renewable resources, implementing sustainable practices and lastly – utilising local materials, skills and drawing deeply from traditional architectural histories (Smart Building Handbook,
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