BEYOND VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE
When John Ruskin “discovered” vernacular architecture, it was a rich heritage still in the making. Contrary to most of the other kinds of valuable built remains of cultures gone, vernacular architecture has been well alive, vigorously creative and yet ancient. Besides being continuously inhabited, it has been conserved in open-air museums and reinterpreted through national styles seeking inspiration from it. The former usually resulted in houses turned into museum exhibits; the latter inevitably resulted in compositions designed by trained architects. Alongside this process, there occurred progressive disappearance of vernacular crafts and ways of life. There is, however, a lesson that built vernacular heritage can still teach us: better integration of human settlements to the environment. What lies beyond vernacular architecture or the theory and practice of its preservation, is the reinvention of the boundaries of localness.