Professional Course

Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia

edX, Online
6 weeks
50 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
6 weeks
50 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
Visit this course's homepage on the provider's site to learn more or book!

Course description

Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia

This course is about architecture. But it's not about grand structures such as monuments or royal palaces. Rather, it is about the built environment that the ordinary people live in. Instead of the architectural techniques, we use stories to understand the processes through which people make their building decisions.

We use Asia as the backdrop for the discussion of these topics. Partly because of Asia's rich heritage and diversity, but also due to the unique complexity that the people in the region face as they go through rapid economic, social, and cultural changes.

In this examination of the connection between vernacular buildings and peoples' cultural identities, we will review real-world examples and talk to experts in the field. At the end of this course, you will gain a unique perspective about the everyday environment that you live in - one perhaps that you've never had before. You will begin to understand and appreciate the value of the ordinary built environment around you.

Whether you are an avid architect or you simply just care about the built environment you live in, this course is for you.

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

Start anytime

  • Self-paced Online
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?



Training content

Week 1: Interpreting the Vernacular

A relatively new field of study, vernacular architecture does not yet have a commonly-agreed definition. This first week we examine several definitions of vernacular architecture and discuss why the topic is especially pertinent in the context of Asia.Alongside the expert discussions and examples,wefurther discuss the notion that culture is a form of tradition and connect it with Asia's vernacular architecture.

Week 2: Climate, Building Materials, and the Vernacular

Vernacular buildings are local and very much influenced by local factors, two of which are climate and local building materials.This week we study how the eight major climatic belts influence people's building decisions. We also look at how people make use of locally available materials, and how construction methods and building rituals are passed from one generation to the next.

Week 3: Vernacular Landscapes and the Rural Built Environment

This week we talk about the vernacular landscape. We define what it is, the meaning of it, and through the lens of the rural vernacular environment, we appreciate the seemingly un-self-conscious process of building that is indeed timeless.

Week 4: The Urban Vernacular

This week we focus on cities, or the urban vernacular. We discuss the process through which the urban vernacular is built, we also delve deep into topics such as sense of place, types of urban vernacular buildings, and how the urban vernacular evolves over time.

Week 5: Informal Settlements

Have you ever paid any attention to the slum areas in cities? Why do they exist? Are they of any significance or vernacular value to people and society? Termed informal settlements, we look at these built environments in cities through economic, cultural, and social lenses, and connect this unique type of urban vernacular with the future of cities.

Week 6: Sustainable Conservation and the future of Asia 's Vernacular Architecture

In this concluding week, we differentiate conservation from preservation and discuss the challenges and approaches to conservation of Asia's vernacular built environment. We also discuss the future of vernacular architecture in Asia by contrasting tradition and modernity, and by asking the question of how they can coexist. We argue that the best way to ensure the continuation of the built heritage in Asia is to view vernacular architecture as a living tradition that evolves with time but without losing its cultural value.

Course delivery details

This course is offered through University of Hong Kong, a partner institute of EdX.

2-3 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$50
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

Throughout the course, we will examine a wide range of topics, such as:

  • what is vernacular architecture
  • how climate and the availability of building materials influence building decisions
  • vernacular architecture in rural and urban settings
  • cultural sustainability and the conservation of the vernacular built environment.

Contact this provider

Contact course provider

Fill out your details to find out more about Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia.

  Contact the provider

  Get more information

  Register your interest

Country *

reCAPTCHA logo This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


edX For Business helps leading companies upskill their labor forces by making the world’s greatest educational resources available to learners across a wide variety of in-demand fields. edX For Business delivers high-quality corporate eLearning to train and engage your employees...

Read more and show all training delivered by this supplier