Architectural Folklore

After completing the previous post of Storytelling, Cultural Transmission and Architecture I began to wonder if there are any architectural folklore or stories, and if there are, how they affect the built environment and people’s preferences toward architecture and cities. Vernacular architecture is the most promising place to begin, as the architecture varies highly among different cities even within the same country, particularly in Europe, Asia and Africa and the American Southwest. Building methods, aesthetics, spatial arrangements and materials are all closely tied to the local environment and culture. Spatial arrangements at the urban scale are also influence highly by the culture and its customs.

Hut of Toda tribe (Nilgiris, India)

Image via Wikipedia

By looking at how the urban fabric can be uniquely tied to a place, for example the Moorish neighborhoods of Granada as compared to the courtyard patterns of Northern Africa, it is clear that there are cultural rules, preferences and traditions. But are these traditions linked in any way to an oral or written tradition of stories or folktales? Given how much learning is tied to storytelling, it would be an interesting experiment to see if design responses based on different folktales would differ noticeably.
Check back for more in depth research into vernacular architecture and folklore, as well as experiments involving invented folktales and corresponding design charettes.

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