The Evolving Rural Dwelling: Organization, Construction and Change

Abstract

The dwelling unit typology can be considered as a derivative of material availability and social needs. Traditional rural construction methods have typically made use of local on-site materials, such as earth and stone, as a means of economy, sensibility and ease. As a result, the structural, environmental and aesthetic properties of these local materials have been closely related to modes of living and spatial arrangements. However, the blending of new construction materials and methods, such as concrete and prefabricated parts, with those of the traditional pose new opportunities for the spatial and social logic of the unit typology. One purpose of this research is to investigate the advantages gained through the hybridization of standard and non-standard materials and technologies. Furthermore, it seeks to determine scenarios in which it is sensible or economic to import non-traditional materials and methodologies to supplement the traditional. As non-traditional materials and methodologies begin to intermingle with what is considered to be traditional, new criteria are required to define what is truly ïlocalÍ or ïtraditionalÍ. Successful dwelling unit hybridizations challenge oneÍs understanding of what defines the ïtraditionalÍ, as they themselves begin to encourage indigenous activities and occupations. Additionally, hybrid dwelling constructions begin to indicate that the boundaries, which have previously defined a ïlocalÍ material, might be larger than previously supposed. The evaluation of hybrid construction typologies might inform innovative ways in which to further and enrich the planning, structural, economic and social processes developed in standard construction typologies.