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Vernacular Architecture and Landscape Architecture Resource Guide: Introduction

This is a brief and selective guide to materials available in the Environmental Design Library.


This is a brief and selective guide to materials available in the Environmental Design Library, and includes basic research tools, historical sources, and strategies for finding materials in the UC Berkeley Libraries. The Anthropology LibraryEast Asian Library, Ethnic Studies LibrarySouth/Southeast Asia Library, and Doe and Moffitt Libraries also have relevant materials.

Only selected general materials are listed here; in fact, specific sources are generally excluded from this guide. Terms related to a particular building material (e.g. straw, adobe), a stylistic term (e.g. Shaker, Safavid), or cultural descriptor (e.g. nomads, Haida) will lead to additional worthwhile material, even when the main focus is not architecture per se, and should be searched as well.

Vernacular architecture and landscape architecture, often called the "ordinary" or "traditional" built environment, is a subject which crosses many disciplines: architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, building science, cultural anthropology, urban geography, archaeology, material culture, history, folklore, gender studies and human geography among them. As a result, information about vernacular architecture can be found in a variety of libraries and resources on campus.

Search Terms

Use these selected Library of Congress subject headings as broad examples of subjects or keywords that can be used to find books in the Library catalogs and to find articles in periodical indexes. Using specific terms about the type of construction material (e.g., bamboo, clay) or the geographic location (e.g., Iran, Philippines) and combining subject headings can help refine your search for more exact results. Make note of additional subject and keywords in resources you find helpful.

It is also useful to frame your search around related subjects , for example, terms related to a particular building material (e.g. straw, adobe, fabric), style (e.g. Shaker, Safavid), or cultural descriptor (e.g. nomads, Haida, squatters).

Adobe houses
Appropriate technology
Architecture, domestic
Architecture, primitive
Architecture--(place name)

Bamboo construction
Building, adobe--(place name)
Dwellings--(place name)
Dwellings--Design and construction
Dwellings--social aspects 

Earth construction--(place name) 
Earth houses 
Ethnic architecture--(place name) 
Farm buildings 

House construction--(place name) 
House construction--climatic factors 
Human ecology--(place name)
Human geography--(place name)
Human settlements

Industrial archaeology
Material culture
Organic architecture

(Place name)--buildings, structures, etc.
Roadside architecture

Self-help housing
Space (architecture)
Squatter settlements

Vernacular architecture--(place name)
Vernacular architecture--(condition)
Vernacular architecture--conservation and restoration

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