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As history showed, mankind always tend to use the natural materials provided by their land to fashion shelter, farms, sanctuaries, social and cultural facilities depending on the needs and beliefs of the community. These infrastructures created by and for the locals can be defined as vernacular architecture. The built environment resulting from this approach is fostering a local ecosystem in which nature, human and construction are closely related. In the actual context of global crisis (lack of resources, destruction of the environment, social inequalities) architects seek sustainable solutions to tackle contemporary world issues. Learning from vernacular, traditional and indigenous architecture enables us to investigate designs and building responses in order to enhance sustainability and inclusivity in the process of building places. In this sense, this illustration results from the observation of the Machiyas, the traditional wood town houses of Kyoto.
This observational drawing helps us identify design concepts arising from the association of materiality, techniques, and cultural values related to these structures. In fact, in the Machiya, lumber, bamboo and washi paper elements are traditionally created and upgraded in harmony with the natural growth cycle of the vegetation resources available. In other words, studying these traditional construction methods brings up about how we are designing infrastructure today. Efficiency, rapidity, functionality usually remain the main priority in urban development projects. According to the data supplied by UNESCO, cities host more than half of humanity (3,9 billion people). Simultaneously the phenomenon of massive urbanization tend to increase social and environmental negative effects : local expertise and know-how are largely abandoned in the favor of rational space disconnected to natural systems.
Regarding this issue, the development of local architecture can suggest a contemporary strategy for designing healthier and welcoming cities based on the concept of building and living in-situ.
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