Sustainability Principles and Features Learned from Vernacular Architecture: Guidelines for Future Developments Globally and in Egypt

  • Mohsen Aboulnaga
  • Mona Mostafa
Part of the Innovative Renewable Energy book series (INREE)


Vernacular architecture is the traditional architecture built by indigenous (local) people in a country. It can be considered sustainable as it exhibits the consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic factors. Vernacular architecture has been built in many countries around the world. It reflects the culture and tradition of indigenous people using simple forms and local materials supported by simple construction skills. Africa has many examples of vernacular architecture using natural resources within reach locally. Also, Latin America, Asia and Europe show various and similar examples. By-and-large, vernacular architecture illustrates many aspects of sustainability and addresses sustainable development requirements in terms of needs and limitations. Nonetheless, vernacular buildings demonstrate compliance with and adherence to basic green principles. This chapter focuses on vernacular architecture in general and presents leading global and regional traditional buildings, including examples in Africa (58 countries) and Middle East (13 countries) to learn about and detect synergies and to assist in better understanding of the vernacular architecture worldwide and the selected cases in Egypt. In this review, building types, materials, elements of structure and forms were illustrated and assessed. Factors influencing vernacular architecture in many countries are presented and discussed. Comparison between vernacular architecture examples in Africa was conducted in terms of building types and climatic region, specifically under parameters such as building shape (form), colour and materials as well as structural and sustainability features. In addition, examples of vernacular architecture in Egypt were reviewed and illustrated, mainly: Aswan, Luxor and Western Desert. A comparison between examples of vernacular architecture in Siwa Oasis in Egypt was conducted in terms of use, building materials, structure and project description as well as social sustainability, economic sustainability and environmental sustainability. Finally, lessons learned from global, regional and Egyptian vernacular architecture as well as sustainability guidelines for future development are outlined.


Vernacular architecture Sustainability principles Sustainable materials Guidelines Africa Egypt 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohsen Aboulnaga
    • 1
  • Mona Mostafa
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Architecture, Faculty of EngineeringCairo UniversityGizaEgypt
  2. 2.Modern Sciences and Arts UniversityGizaEgypt

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