5 Lessons from Southern Vernacular Houses

Our ancestors built buildings in response to the environment, and so should we continue to design & build our architecture, articulated in such a way so as to respond to the environment in which it is intended to be built.  

This is also an opportunity to point out the inherent problem with purchasing a “stock plan” home design.  Many of these plans are intended to achieve a certain “look” or “style” of architecture, but they are seldom well thought through, so as to respond to environmental conditions.  Particularly, since they are “stock” plans which are intended to be sold as generic, reproducible designs, they are not specifically designed for a given lot, site condition, micro / macro environment, etc., and therefore they most often will not address the issues of solar orientation, wind flow across a site, etc., conditions which can be so vital to the success of a homes efficiency performance.  

My point here is this.  As most of us are on a budget, we do need to keep money in mind, but consider this. You may spend less money up for a “stock plan” design, but this decision may end up costing you more over the life of your occupancy of the home, on things such as utility costs and maintenance, dealing with a home that was not designed with a particular site, or solar orientation, in mind.  On the flip side of this coin, you will usually find, with a well-designed home, one which responds to a given site with appropriate materiality and proper solar orientation, you may spend more up front for the custom design, but you will end up saving money on utility costs over the duration of the life of the home.  

All points to consider before you move forward in planning your next home design project.

This is a re-post of a good list of reasons why some of our traditionally “southern” architecture (homes in particular) looks the way it does (from Frederick + Frederick Architects). Click the link below to see the list.

5 Lessons from Southern Vernacular Houses — Frederick + Frederick Architects.


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