The new world order under the influence of globalization has imposed strenuous new conditions upon the local vernacular settlements. For instance, an unprecedented scale of migrations across the globe has brought hitherto secluded communities and places in contact with ever changing new cultures and practices. Economic dynamics such as neo-liberalization have also global impacts on the changing world. Moreover, global issues such as climate change, increasing natural/man-made disasters, and sustainability have demanded new ways of thinking and doing things. Undeniably, re-thinking and re-assessment of vernacular has become critical for our engagements with the vernacular settlements in both academia and practice.
Vernacular traditions have always nurtured, cultivated and contributed immensely to the definition of cultural identities. Throughout history, architects have often re-narrated ‘grand traditions’ of the vernacular and have re-deployed them in refined forms and spaces of the celebrated architecture to produce architecture identified with the notions of nationhood and national identities. Vernacular architectural heritage, cultural values, lifestyles, local construction methods and materials are totally important resources for architects in practice. Identities of nations under threat from the overarching presence and the intruding penetrations of globalizations owe much to the grand traditions to sustain and negotiate new forms and expressions of cultural identities. Under these circumstances, re-thinking and re-assessment of vernacular theories and practices could enable us to understand the real role of vernacular in the development of built environments in the contemporary world.
As a consequence of cultural change, a side effect may occur in the form of eroding local identities. Vernacular traditions remain contemporary in the 21st century through re-invention and innovation of what has been rooted in the everyday living. The role the new knowledge domains that operate on non-hierarchical networks play in this reconfiguration is largely unknown. Thus the questions about vernacular as the vehicle of re-contextualizing new institutional forms in globalizing and developing societies remain un-answered.
Turkey with its multi-layered civilizations throughout history, indeed is an appropriate venue for the ISVS-7 to take place in October, 2014 and to probe these issues and engage in discussions of their complexities. Several Turkish architects whose different attitudes towards vernacular architecture have been granted for Aga Khan Award during the last decades. Since the 1950s the Faculty of Architecture of Istanbul Technical University has conducted an extensive number of both theoretical and applied housing research studies including vernacular settlements, which culminated in national and international conferences and publications.
In this context, the ISVS – 7 in Istanbul aims to bring together scholars to discuss and re-assess the role of vernacular traditions on contemporary architecture in the current wave of globalization. We invite scholars involved in the study of vernacular settlements and its practices to focus upon this theme and ask questions related to the settlements they are studying.
It poses foremost the question as to how the various concepts and definitions of vernacular settlements have changed over time from “traditional” to “noman”. Moreover, it asks, what were the characteristics of vernacular that have been often reproduced in the processes of representing identity through modern buildings? How and why has vernacular been used in articulating national identities across the world and continue to be so, despite the emergence of subsequent and more articulate modern buildings? What are the implications of these practices to vernacular settlements themselves specifically and to architecture in general?
Such inquiries are expected to generate understandings and knowledge about the relevance of vernacular today and will prepare the designers to practice vernacular more meaningfully in a globalizing world. The conference themes relate to theoretical/ philosophical/ socio-cultural/ environmental aspects will contribute to possible future studies in vernacular architecture.
• Theory, philosophy and practice: knowledge formation.
• Ideologies and projections: futuristic inquiries.
• Globalization and local identities: small traditions and grand traditions.
• Politics: informality, third space, otherness, struggles, exclusion, resistance, diversity, plurality, gender, class and ethnic differences
• Human factors / behavioral aspects: women, children, the aged, everyday life.
• Meanings and experiences: place-making, dwelling, non-place.
• Commodification: consumption, media intervention, “touristification”, and inappropriate policies.
• Diverse representations: vernacular architecture in texts, films and visual arts.
• Environmental concerns: formation of public space, street art.
• Socio-cultural sustainability: cultural ecology of vernacular housing.
• Technology and new materials: climate, ecology, recycling, saving of the resources