Western Mediterranean European Vernacular Architecture

Alomar, Gabriel
For the purposes of this article, 'vernacular' or 'popular' architecture of a specific region is defined as 'the totality of man-made structures intended for living or for other activities, which do not classify within any historic or academic style in the classical meaning of the term but which are a part of the tradition of that particular region'. The time in which these structures were built is not significant, and the names of their builders are, generally speaking, unknown for the vernacular or popular architecture is essentially an "architecture without architects"» It evolves more or less naturally, similar in a way to the growth of plants of the indigenous flora. In accordance with the above definition, the .concept of vernacular architecture is obviously inseparable from the people and their tradition within a region. There may, however, be various sub-regions within the boundaries of a region, each presenting minor differences in character. For instance in Andalucia, Southern Spain, the dominant style is white-washed houses with clay-tile roofs but differences of detail are readily observable from one town to another. Vernacular architecture may be rural, comprising buildings such as farmhouses, wind or water mills, water wheels, covered wells, sheep-folds, etc. It may also be urban, as in the case of small, agrarian town centres, towns of fishermen or other, similar, less-developed communities. These settlements represent another very important scale of the problem, that of vernacular or popular town-planning. Vernacular architecture must be considered not only through isolated subject's but also through small urban ensembles and, eventually, whole settlements which, in all cases, should be studied within a larger context, i.e. the surrounding landscape. In this article specific reference is given to the eastern and southern parts of the Iberian peninsula and to the Balearic islands. However, certain basic characteristics and perhaps t h e problems illustrated in this particular region may be common to the whole of the western Mediterrenean basin , and probably to all the northern riparian countries of the Mediterrenean.


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Citation Formats
G. Alomar, “Western Mediterranean European Vernacular Architecture,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 149–157, 1978, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: http://jfa.arch.metu.edu.tr/archive/0258-5316/1978/cilt04/sayi_2/149-157.pdf.