KYOTO UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL ARCHITECTURE

BOOK REVIEW: HOUSE FORM AND CULTURE BY AMOS RAPOPORT
Sandra M. Carrasco M.

The book House Form and Culture was written in 1969 by Amos Rapoport andpublished as one of seven books in the Foundations of Cultural Geography Series edited by Philip Wagner. This book is considered to be the pioneer in which it is faced the theme of popular or traditional housing, and how the form of houses is defined. Not only making a description and comparison of traditional housing through the world, but analyzing them and the factors that determine their shape and organization, and the modifiers that determine their constraints. Rapoport is the first one that opposites the traditional way to study architecture and its history in the world, in which it is focused the monumental architecture, which traditionally was considered to be a manifestation of each culture, but, how about housin If it is the g?, manifestation of the daily life of their inhabitants, in each historical period and in each location across the globe, it must be the expression of the culture, beliefs, needs, and desires; and consequently taking into account the physical milieu. This book analyzes housing through cross-disciplinary studies of dwellings, settlements and construction from architecture and engineering; planning and cultural geography as well. This book is structured in six chapters, the three first chapters for introduction to the problem statement and hypothesis, and the last three chapters for support the basic hypothesis and conclusion. In the first three chapters, there is an introduction and an explanation previous the presentation of the hypothesis; Chapter 1 The nature and definition of the field in which is defined the work s discipline area, providing the innovativeness of the study of housing as a cultural expression; the Chapter 2 Alternative theories of house form , present alternative ideas of how house form it is defined and how there are different solutions for similar environments, not only for housing the shape, but also its internal and external distribution, settlements pattern and materials; Chapter 3 Socio-cultural factors and house form , where the basic hypothesis is raised, focusing on cultural factors that define house form: House form is not simply the result of physical forces or any single casual factor, but is the consequence of a whole range of socio-cultural factors seen in their broadest terms (page 47). In the next two chapters, this hypothesis is supported, arguing that besides cultural factors there are others that act as modifiers; Chapter 4 Climate as modifying factor and Chapter 5 Construction, materials and technology as modifying factors ; in both the author focuses on site and physical constrains as secondary modifiers in the traditional housing planning, as spontaneous and empirical by their own residents. In the last chapter A look at the present , current traditional houses are approached (taking into account the time it was written last sixties), specifically situation in Developing

which reaffirmed. with special reference to Latin America. they can be expressed in a subtle way. Ensure the maintenance of the health of the occupants. 1969. the idea of vernacular housing. and also the constrains for housing. Rapoport's book House Form and Culture is a starting point on the issue of housing popular or vernacular. Sufficiently economical to ensure that the greatest number can afford it. something that was going to be neglected after(1). are the limitations for the use of symbols according to beliefs of each culture. The Meaning of the Built Environment: A Nonverbal Communication Approach. which can be valid even in present time: 1. Socially end culturally valid.Countries. 4. Other aspect that is affirmed by the author. Thus even a simple dwelling may reflect both the material and spiritual worlds of its builders and occupiers . that is mentioned constantly during the book) in each time. middle level meanings (identity. that is more limited to physical function. suggesting a pattern for analysis convincingly. Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin. however. etc. the idea that it doesn t changes over time prevails. deny or extend the concepts and statements in this. power. but however the physical constrains that determines their current form. referring that symbolic features can have high level meanings (cultural schemata and the sacred high style). may symbolize concepts of cosmos. and serves as motivation for future publications. 3. 1997. Minimum of maintenance over the life of the building. in present time. this point of view is similar to a more recently one in 1997 by Paul Oliver(2): Vernacular Architecture generally embodies community values. Amos Rapoport 1982. status or wealth) and low level everyday and instrumental meanings (associated to where to walk in. it is mentioned the reality in United States. where to sit down. originally published: Beverly Hills Sage Publications. (Page xxi). University of Arizona Press. but without ignoring the context of time it was written. c1990. he concludes in today housing the problem would be the excessive choice. In this book Rapoport beside the description of a large amount of traditional or vernacular housing. Works Cited: Rapoport. and providing these four objectives that all housing needs in order to be successful (page 129).). as well as each society changes. 2. Then. and less evidently. and the author reflects all the concepts explain through the book here. House Form and Culture. Finally. Amos. or act as analogue for the abs tractions of belief. in which there is no clear characteristics or elements that can express symbols or exotic shape of houses. . (2) (1) . must suit the genre de vie ( kind of life or lifestyle . 1982 Paul Oliver. however.Cambridge University Press.Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful