Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, Volume X
Building Environments: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, Volume X, edited by Kenneth A. Breisch and Alison K. Hoagland, is a collection of the best papers presented at recent annual meetings of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. The editors assert that there is no single correct avenue to exploring our built environment. Rather, these essays provide a road map of the various paths of architectural inquiry, illustrating how expansive and interdisciplinary this research quest can and should be.
Building Environments features a dialogue among historians, archaeologists, preservationists, architectural historians, and geographers. Because the discussions in this book are so inclusive, the points of view so varied, and the boundaries so expansive, Building Environments breaks down traditional research methodologies and provides new lines of inquiry. Each of the seventeen essays in this collection contributes unique insights to the broader task of interpreting our cultural landscape. In addition to examinations of tobacco barns in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, eighteenth-century townhouses on the north shore of Massachusetts Bay, and slave quarters in Charleston, South Carolina, the papers included stretch the boundaries of the term “architecture” by exploring structures such as rats’ nests, skin boats, wayside shrines, and corn palaces. This diversity and eclecticism encourage a fresh look at what we consider part of the environment.
Building Environments is valuable as a research source and a teaching tool. Its brief, accessible essays put the core ideas of vernacular architecture easily within the reach of students at all levels.