"It is a humanistic inquiry that recognizes that buildings and settings, alone, do not make place," he said in a talk Dec. 13 at the annual meeting of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments in Oxford, UK. "People, in their interaction with the natural and built environment, make place."
Heath draws attention to a small group of architecture and urban design professionals who in recent years have begun to challenge the practice of designing modern structures that simply strive to produce mirages of the past. The emerging field is called “situated regionalism.”
"This is a design-and-planning approach that considers the current human and environmental situation," Heath said in an interview before his talk. "We look at the regional filter -- the collective forces that shape place."
Heath's approach to the field will be more fully detailed in his upcoming book "Vernacular Architecture and Regional Design: Cultural Process and Environmental Response." His talk Saturday -- during the session “Regeneration and Tradition" chaired by UO architecture colleague Mark Gillem -- aimed to define vernacular architecture as a way to explore both current and past uses and needs of populations living in a particular place to better understand regional dynamics.
Also speaking in the session was UO architecture professor Howard Davis, who focused on the relationship between craftsmanship and the possibility of contemporary production drawing upon traditional building practice with modern methods. His material, from a graduate seminar, also will be part of a book, currently titled "Post-Industrial Craftsmanship in Buildings and Cities."
Regionally based architecture, Heath said, should respond to very specific dynamics of local and extra-local forces, resulting in design and planning that uses data, not imagery, of how buildings and their uses have changed over time to create new buildings that people can use according to current needs. "The end result may or may not look like something in the past," Heath said, "but ultimately it will be situated in the current human condition."
In his talk, Heath notes that "no culture is monolithic." As people move into an area they establish their own approach to their existing needs. As time moves on, new people, perhaps coming with different cultural traditions and preferences move in, leading to changes to the way existing buildings are used. Environmental conditions may change, along with new technologies and new ways of social approaches to building use. "Hybridity results," he said.
Vernacular, or regional, architecture is always in transition, not locked in the historical past, Heath said. "The regional filter that once identified the past may have changed for various reasons. Rather than looking at patterns of continuity, we need to be studying patterns of contradiction that show how past forms are being altered to meet the needs of people that haven't been accommodated in design. They may be visually awkward, even unattractive."
In effect, architects and planners should serve as "a kind of therapist who listens and sees a built environment in all of its messiness," he said, adding that idea is the same as turning emotional chaos into effective accommodation. "Architects and planners can look at this physical chaos of buildings in transition and give the chaos some conceptual and formal clarity that addresses current needs, opportunities, and aspirations."
His book will elaborate this approach to regional architecture through nine international case studies that address various approaches to designing residences and public buildings.
"The overarching aspect of situated regionalism is that it is really oriented toward the next generation of architecture and urban design students who want to make a difference in the world," Heath said. "What we are looking at are examples -- some award-winning and others that are based on work by emerging young architects -- that provide insights into achieving positive social and environmental accommodation through design."About the University of Oregon
Source: Kingston Heath, professor of historic preservation, 541-346-2115, email@example.com
Links: UO Historic Preservation Program: http://hp.uoregon.edu/index.cfm?mode=program
Jim Barlow | Newswise Science News
Flexible protection for "smart" building and façade components
30.11.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC
Healthy living without damp and mold
16.11.2016 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering