Vernacular architecture is inextricably linked to climate. Climate has a significant impact on the use and evolution of local building techniques and building design. Climate change is expected to affect buildings, the process of building and using, maintaining and recycling of buildings. Climate plays a central role in the adaptation of architecture to the local natural environment. Adaptation can be understood as a process, starting with planning and the first foundation of a building, followed by different phases of transformation. These changes can be read in regional-typical patterns of change. In addition to a historical view, the project looks ahead to 2100 with regard to transformations due to expected climate changes.

CLIMATE-Arch will focus on the processes involved in the transformation of local building techniques caused by climate and climate change. A wide range of local material resources and natural environmental conditions, and the effects of climate change, produce various kinds of technical adaptations. CLIMATE-Arch will explore these transformations and their drivers at the level of both building technology and building design, focusing on two regions in Eurasia that use a range of local building technologies. Most previous research on the impact of climate change has taken a mono-disciplinary approach, in the main not considering the processes responsible for the evolution and transformation of buildings, which principally stem from the inextricable link between material and environmental conditions. CLIMATE-Arch will break new ground by examining the factors that trigger vernacular transformation through a climate lens, combining climate research and the disciplines of architecture, engineering, natural environmental and social sciences.

As an interdisciplinary project (connecting natural, technical and social sciences), the project will tackle three key questions that will characterize the development of vernacular architecture in the face of altered climatic influences, considering whether the situations are comparable in regions in Europe and Asia with different cultures and resources.

  1. What are the main effects of climatic influences on the transformation of contemporary local building traditions?
  2. To what extent are these factors shared across the research regions and trans-culturally manifested?
  3. How will climate change affect local building technology and design in the future?

Project leader:
Hubert Feiglstorfer

Hermine Huber, Martin Pospichal

[Info: more collaborators will be hired]

01.01.2024 – 31.12.2028

European Union: ERC Consolidator Program