School of Architecture


    The Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World edited by Dr Marcel Vellinga will be a fully revised, updated and expanded edition of Paul Oliver’s classic 1997 publication.

    Featuring approximately 3,000 entries, the encyclopedia will contain over 30% entirely new material and will be available as a six volume printed work and as an interactive online encyclopedia. A major development in the field of vernacular architecture studies, this new edition, with its expanded, newly-comprehensive theoretical and geographical scope, will reflect the considerable growth in research in the field since the first edition. It will bring the encyclopedia, which has long been unavailable, back to prominence and to a new expanded readership, and will be the definitive and most up-to-date reference resource for the study of the world’s vernacular and traditional building cultures.

    The encyclopedia will be published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2019. 

    For further details please contact Dr Marcel Vellinga at

  • Context

    In the nearly twenty years since the publication of the first edition, a considerable amount of new research has taken place around the world and by scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds, both in terms of the documentation of the vernacular architecture of specific cultures or places, and theoretical approaches towards the definition, documentation, analysis and representation of vernacular architecture more generally. Altogether, this research has resulted in a more mature, diverse, active and dynamic field of study, interdisciplinary and international in focus, which continues to enrich our knowledge and understanding of the diversity and quality of the world’s vernacular architecture. The second edition will encompass the results of this new research.

    An update is particularly important in view of the rapid cultural and environmental changes that have taken place in the past two decades. Population growth, urbanisation, globalisation, climate change, migration, natural disasters, conflicts, and the internationalisation of architectural practice have exerted increasing pressure on vernacular forms of architecture in many parts of the world. In some cases, this has resulted in the abandonment, replacement or destruction of distinctive and unique vernacular traditions; traditions that a revised edition of EVAW will be able to document, before they are for ever-lost. In other cases, it has resulted in conscious attempts to conserve, safeguard or revive existing traditions, or invent new ones, and to explore their application and appropriation in contemporary architectural practice. These processes have in turn led to the emergence of hybrid forms of ‘new vernacular’ architecture that combine vernacular and contemporary elements, both in professional and informal contexts, in many parts of the world.

    In line with these processes and with developments in cultural theory more generally, more dynamic and active approaches to the study of vernacular architecture have emerged that attempt to challenge the dichotomies inherent in earlier definitions and representations of the vernacular. Paying more attention to the impact of human agency and practice on architecture, they explore the ways in which traditions actively transform, overlap, combine and amalgamate as a result of processes of development and consumption (e.g. through occupation, appropriation or representation). Simultaneously, in response to the challenges posed by processes of environmental change, an active discourse has developed that explores the ways in which vernacular forms, materials and technologies may inform contemporary sustainable environmental design.

    The second edition of the Encyclopedia will document these emergent discourses and new forms of vernacular architecture in two new sections focused on ‘Consumption’ and ‘Sustainable Development’. In addition, it will update, revise and expand the existing Theories and Principles, and Cultures and Habitats sections; as well as the Comparative Lexicon, Glossary and Bibliography.

    Project team

    Dr Marcel Vellinga
    Oxford Brookes University, UK

    Regional Editors
    Prof Randall Bird (Sub-Saharan Africa)
    University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

    Prof Xavier Casanovas (Mediterranean and Southwest Asia)
    Escuela Politécnica Superior de Edificación de Barcelona, Spain

    Dr Barry O’Reilly (Europe and Eurasia)
    Oxford Brookes University, UK

    Prof Ronald G Knapp (Asia, East, South and Central)
    State University of New York at New Paltz, USA

    Prof Paul Memmott and Jessica Kane (Australasia and Oceania)
    University of Queensland, Australia

    Prof Gabrielle M. Lanier (North America)
    James Madison University, USA

    Prof Alberto Saldarriaga Roa (Latin America, North)
    Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

    Dr Jorge Tomasi (Latin America, South)
    Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Victor Mestre and Maria Isabel Kanan (Latin America, Brazil)
    VM/SA Arquitectos, Portugal and Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional, Brazil

    Subject Editors
    Dr Stephanie Bunn (Materials and Resources)
    University of St Andrews, UK

    Prof Howard Davis (Typologies)
    University of Oregon, USA

    Dr Sophie Elpers (Symbolism and Decoration)
    Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Netherlands

    Prof Denise Lawrence-Zúñiga (Uses and Functions)
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, USA

    Prof Daniel Maudlin (Approaches, Concepts and Methods)
    Plymouth University, UK

    Prof Susan Roaf (Environment; Services)
    Heriot Watt University, UK

    Prof Fernado Vegas López-Manzanares and Prof Camilla Mileto (Production)
    Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain

    Dr Marcel Vellinga (Culture; Consumption; Sustainable Development)
    Oxford Brookes University, UK

    Advisory Editorial Board
    Prof Soumyen Bandyopadhyay
    University of Liverpool, UK

    Prof Suzanne Preston Blier
    Harvard University, USA

    Prof Simon Bronner
    Penn State University, USA

    Dr Victor Buchli
    University College London, UK

    Dr Peter Kellett
    Newcastle University, UK

    Prof Roderick Lawrence
    University of Geneva, Switzerland

    Prof Setha Low
    City University of New York, USA

    Professor Trevor Marchand
    School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

    Prof Daniel Maudlin
    Plymouth University, UK

    Dr Aylin Orbasli
    Oxford Brookes University, UK

    Dr Andrei Serbescu
    Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania

    Professor Dell Upton
    University of California, Los Angeles

    Dr Roxana Waterson
    National University of Singapore, Singapore