Exploring the Concepts of Sustainability: Indigenous People’s Art and Architecture.

By Preeti Onkar Singh.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sustainability is a concept increasingly used as a measure of the worth of an approach to meeting contemporary shelter needs. Sustainable architecture implies an approach that in a developmental context goes beyond the project phase. There is a focus on the process as well as the end product. Sustainable architecture recognizes that while the product may wear out over time, the process remains. This process can then be repeated without resorting to major external inputs. Whilst one could be forgiven for defining sustainable architecture as, “buildings that will stay intact for a prolonged period”, what we are in fact concerned with is the search for and the promotion of building methods that people can go on using with the skills and resources available to them.
Traditional planning and building methods were often good examples of sustainable architecture in their time and represented good uses of local resources matched with local skills. Combined they produced a built environment which met people’s needs. Vernacular architecture can perhaps be defined as architecture born out of local building materials and technologies, an architecture that is climate-responsive and a reflection of the customs and lifestyles of a community. From an architect’s viewpoint, are we attempting to sustain architectural-artifacts, the built environment, the (existing) human eco-system, human life, or human culture? Obviously we are trying to sustain all of these - in reverse order. That is, human life and culture (material and immaterial); then the human-ecosystem; then the built environment and lastly individual architectural artifacts.
This paper attempts to present the rhythm and beauty of indigenous tribal architecture and how beautifully they have unknowingly adopted the process of sustainability. The author believes that sustainability is not a target but a process.

Keywords: Sustainability, Indigenous Tribal Architecture

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.105-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.782MB).

Preeti Onkar Singh

Assistant Professor, Architecture and Planning, Maulana Azad National Institiute of Technology, Bhopal, MP, India

I am a faculty member in the Architecture and Planning Department at Maulana Azad National Institiute of Technology. (Deemed University). I have already completed my phd. My area of specilaisation is quality of life, urban poor, urban distress and indigeneous architecture. Also I have been involved in research and consutancy projects for last 10 years.

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