People, environment should be kept in mind while constructing buildings

December 14th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 14 (ANI): Architects should keep human and environmental situation when designing buildings, according to Kingston Heath, a professor of historic preservation at the University of Oregon.

He said that a building designed to recapture the past may bring nostalgia, but the end product may not capture current realities of a place.

“It is a humanistic inquiry that recognizes that buildings and settings, alone, do not make place. People, in their interaction with the natural and built environment, make place,” he said.

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. We look at the regional filter — the collective forces that shape place,” Heath said.

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, on Dec. 13 at the annual meeting of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments in Oxford, UK, aimed to define vernacular architecture as a way to explores both current and past uses and needs of populations living in a particular place to better understand regional dynamics.

Heath said that regionally based architecture 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 but ultimately it will be situated in the current human condition, Heath said.

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,” he added. (ANI)

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