Developing New Design Strategies in the Light of Vernacular Building Heritage

Topics: Architecture, House, Vernacular architecture Pages: 11 (3575 words) Published: January 23, 2013
Developing New Design Strategies in the light of Vernacular Building Heritage Ozgur Dincyurek Assoc. Professor

Dr. Ibrahim Numan
Eastern Mediterranean University Introduction The ignorance of environmental values/impacts that are ranged from local to regional scales in the design and construction processes, burdens the inconveniences of the “contemporary” living milieus. Locality bears particular values in terms of natural, built and cultural context that constantly shape the local identity throughout the ages. Exclusion of this set of values in the development of the built environment, in conjunction with the consumer wise approaches of global trends, is ended up with an unsatisfactory living milieu. In this respect, the lack of environmental and socio-cultural aspects especially in the building design is the vital issue behind the questioning of existing understanding towards the context and its products. As it is faced with the challenging global circumstances related to the destructive effects of human activity on the nature, the need for the perspective of vernacular cultures and traditions, which are developed within local natural context, becomes essential. Quick Outlook to the Residential Developments of Cyprus Cyprus vernacular kept its consistent evolution and reserved its distinctive identity in the Mediterranean basin in spite of political fluctuations in its history (Hill). The interaction between migration, political change and vernacular distress is a process, which influences the culture of the Island all through the history. The vernacular architecture of Cyprus has always been influenced by the immigrant communities in time. These communities, who moved to or conquered Cyprus in different periods, were entirely foreign and unfamiliar to this new context. Consequently, the prevailing vernacular architecture started to lose its peculiar values and distinct architectural characteristics according to this reciprocal interaction. Although, the vernacular house is constantly developed by the considerable alterations of its mass in the form of limited additions and subtractions for responding the changing lifestyle and immigrants’ demands in time, the general characteristics of the rural house form is sustained (Numan and Dincyurek, I.112). Especially, after 1950’s, the sustainability of the vernacular architectural identity is only limited to the conscious or unconscious conservation of the existing vernacular settings instead of the continuation of the vernacular building activities. The impacts of “Annan Plan and its Referenda for Re-unification of the Island”, which was proposed and organized by General Secretary of UN in 2004, extremely influenced important features, including political, socio-cultural, and economical parameters, of the Island. Undoubtedly, the vernacular architecture of the Island implicitly affected from this important development (Dincyurek and Turker, 3385). Although, the reunification was not realized because of its rejection in the referenda by the majority in the Southern (Greek) region, the encouraging (opportunistic) atmosphere of this reunification and optimistic projection for the common future are kept before and after the referenda. This positive atmosphere accelerated the growth of the construction activities especially in the Northern (Turkish) region in terms of summer houses or second houses for the local people and foreign investors. After “Annan Plan”, the sudden increase in the housing developments particularly in Northern part is noticeable. Despite of this boom in construction activity, the format of this development cannot be considered as the improvement in the field because of the repetition of the ready-made design schemes, which are not related with the contextual realities. Besides the other reasons, the search for economically


cheaper global trends in architecture (Turker and Pulhan), which can bring the most of the benefits for the recently...

References: Asquith, Lindsay and Vellinga, Marcel, eds. Vernacular Architecture in the Twenty-First Century - Theory, Education, and Practice. London: Taylor and Francis, 2006. Dincyurek, Ozgur and Turker, Ozlem Olgac. “Learning from Traditional Built Environment of Cyprus: Re-Interpretation of the Contextual Values.” Journal of Building and Environment 42/9 (2007): 3384-3392. Dincyurek, Ozgur, Mallick Fuad H.and Numan, Ibrahim. “Cultural and Environmental Values in the Arcaded Mesaorian Houses of Cyprus.” Journal of Building and Environment 38 (2003): 1463-1473. Dincyurek, Ozgur. “The Rural Vernacular Architecture of Cyprus (Northern)”. Diss. Eastern Mediterranean University, 2002. Hill, Sir George. A History of Cyprus, vol. I,II,III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1949. Numan, Ibrahim and Dincyurek, Ozgur. “Thoughts on the Origins of Cyprus Vernacular Domestic Architecture.” Proceedings of 3rd International Seminar on Vernacular Settlement, Indonesia: Petra Christian University, 2006, I.111-121. Oktay, Makbule. “Learning from Karpas Vernacular: Conceptualization of the Karpas Vernacular Architecture.” Diss. Eastern Mediterranean University, 2006. Oliver, Paul. Built to Meet Needs: Cultural Issues in Vernacular Architecture. Oxford: Architectural Press, 2006. Pulhan, Hifsiye and Numan, Ibrahim, “The Transitional Space in the Traditional Urban
Settlement of Cyprus.” Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 22/2 (2005): 160-178. Rapoport, Amos. “A Framework for Studying Vernacular Design.” Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 16/1 (1999): 52-64. Schaar, Kenneth W., et al. Under the Clock. Nicosia: Bank of Cyprus, 1995. Turker, Ozlem Olgac and Dincyurek Ozgur. “Learning from Traditional Environments: Cyprus on the Threshold of Becoming a Unified Country and a Member of European Union.” Proceedings of XXXII IAHS World Conference on Housing-Sustainability of the Housing Projects, Trento: IAHS Publication, 2004. (CD-ROM) Turker, Ozlem Olgac and Pulhan, Hifsiye. “Hyper-Cypriot Architecture: The Transformation of Local and Global Values”, (ed: S. Nam) 2005-2006 Series of the Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series (WPS), Vol. 196, Global Transformations and Local Traditions, IASTE. Berkeley: University of California, 2006. Turker, Ozlem Olgac. “A Model for the Conservation and Continuity of a Vernacular Settlement: Kaplica Village, North Cyprus.” Diss. Eastern Mediterranean University, 2002. Warren, J., et al. eds. Context: New Buildings in Historic Settings. Oxford: Architectural Press, 1998.
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