• Mehdi Ghafouri Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Tareef Hayat Khan Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Abdullah Sani Ahmad Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia



Vernacular Architecture, Durability, Globalization, Iran, Housing


For centuries, dynamic vernacular society has experienced repairing, or demolishing old houses, and constructing new houses. The time interval between those actions probably became more sparsely spread as modern and more durable technologies and materials offered wider range of options in the vernacular construction through globalization. The first objective of this paper was to compare the durability of distinctively old and new construction materials and technologies used in the vernacular houses in a context of northern Iran. The second objective was to search implicit values behind making decisions regarding durability. The ‘old’ construction technologies were ‘Kali’, Mud Houses, and Lar deh eeâ€, and, while Load-bearing wall, Concrete, and Steel structure were the ‘new’ categories. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted among 167 residents of different vernacular houses and 18 of them were selected for interview. Besides, a number of 20 experts also participated in a mailing survey for validating the data. Perception of users on durability of structure was assessed and compared through 5 elements namely foundation, floor, wall, roof, and attachment through the structured-questionnaire, while the implicit values were revealed from data collected through the open-ended interview. Results showed that residents tend to rate the old houses higher, rather controversially. Commercialization might be gradually inclining users’ choices towards new houses, but responses also showed that a house is likely to be redundant after only a couple of generations, even though it still has a long durable lifetime to spare, thus making the durability issue less significant.


Asquith, L. and M. Vellinga. 2005. Vernacular Architecture In The Twenty-First Century: Theory, Education And Practice.

Rudofsky, B. 1964. Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-pedigreed Architecture. The Exhibition Architecture Without Architects. Shown at the Museum of Modern Art from November 9, 1964 to Februar 7, 1965 was Comm. by the Dep. of Circulating Exhibitions Under the Auspices of the Internat. Council of the Museum of Modern Art]. UNM Press.

Turan, M. 1990. Vernacular Architecture: Paradigms Of Environmental Response. Vol. 4. Gower Publishing Company.

Al-Roubaie, A. 2010. Building Indigenous Knowledge Capacity For Development. World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development. 7(2): 113-129.

Oliver, P. 2006. Built To Meet Needs: Cultural Issues In Vernacular Architecture. Routledge.

Klaufus, C. 2006. Globalization In Residential Architecture In Cuenca, Ecuador: Social And Cultural Diversification Of Architects And Their Clients. Environment and Planning D. 24(1): 69.

McNeill, D. 2000, Mcguggenisation? National Identity And Globalisation In The Basque Country. Political Geography. 19(4): 473-494.

McNeill, D. 1999. Globalization And The European City. Cities. 16(3): 143-148.

Ngowi, A., et al. 2005. The Globalisation Of The Construction Industry—A Review. Building and Environmen. 40(1): 135-141.

AboulNaga, M. M. and Y. H. Elsheshtawy. 2001. Environmental Sustainability Assessment Of Buildings In Hot Climates: The Case Of The UAE. Renewable Energy. 24(3): 553-563.

Jernberg, P., et al. 2004. Guide And Bibliography To Service Life And Durability Research For Building Materials And Components. CIB.

English Heritage. 2011. In English Heritage.

BS 7543: 1992. 2003. Guide To Durability Of Buildings And Building Elements, Products And Components. In 2003.

Nunes, C. and Z. Slížková. 2014. Hydrophobic Lime Based Mortars With Linseed Oil: Characterization And Durability Assessment. Cement and Concrete Research. 61: 28-39.

De Belie, N., et al. 2000. Durability Of Building Materials And Components In The Agricultural Environment, Part III: Concrete Structures. Journal Of Agricultural Engineering Research. 76(1): 3-16.

Lacasse, M. and C. Sjöström. 2004. Recent Advances In Methods For Service Life Prediction Of Building Materials And Components–An Overview. In Proceedings Of The CIB World Building Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Wright, R. N., A. H. Rosenfeld, and A. J. Fowell. 1995. National Planning for Construction and Building R&D. National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg.

Compliance Document for New Zealand Building Code. 2011. Department of Building and Housing.

Lewry, A. and L. Crewdson.1994. Approaches To Testing The Durability Of Materials Used In The Construction And Maintenance Of Buildings. Construction and Building Materials. 8(4): 211-222.

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Available from:

Wiseman, A. 1997. Durability Guidelines for Building Wall Envelopes. Public Works & Government Services Canada, Ottawa.

Seiders, D., et al. 2007. Study Of Life Expectancy Of Home Components. National Association of Home Builders, Washington, DC.

Liu, G., et al. 2014. Factors Influencing The Service Lifespan Of Buildings: An Improved Hedonic Model. Habitat International. 43: 274-282.

Cantacuzino, S. 1989. Re-Architecture: Old Buildings /New Uses. Abbeville Pr.

Chunhua, S. 2004. Whole Life and Highgrade Quality—Stick to the Idea of Giving First Consideration for the People and Implement Housing Performance Certification. Housing Science. 9: 000.

Bullen, P. A. and P. E. Love. 2010. The Rhetoric Of Adaptive Reuse Or Reality Of Demolition: Views From The Field. Cities. 27(4): 215-224.

Kellenberger, D. and H.-J. Althaus. 2009. Relevance Of Simplifications In LCA Of Building Components. Building and Environment. 44(4): 818-825.

Timber Piling Life Expectancy. 2010. K.W.P.P. Ltd, Editor.

Cid-Falceto, J., F. R. Mazarrón, and I. Cañas. 2012. Assessment Of Compressed Earth Blocks Made In Spain: International Durability Tests. Construction and Building Materials. 37: 738-745.

Cooper, T. 2004. Inadequate Life? Evidence Of Consumer Attitudes To Product Obsolescence. Journal of Consumer Policy. 27(4): 421-449.

Ashworth, A. 1996. Estimating The Life Expectancies Of Building Components In Life-Cycle Costing Calculations. Structural Survey. 14(2): 4-8.

O’Connor. J. 2004. Survey On Actual Service Lives For North American Buildings. In Woodframe Housing Durability And Disaster Issues Conference, Las Vegas.

Clamp, H., et al. 1989. Which Contract. Choosing the Appropriate Building Contract, RIBA Publications, London.

Davies, R. L., Petty, D. J., Allen, W. A. 1966. Building Elements. 3rd Ed Ed. Modern Building Construction Series V.3. Vol. 3. London: Architectural Press.

Miles, M. B., A. M. Huberman, and J. Saldaña. 2013. Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. SAGE Publications, Incorporated.

Lwamayanga, C. 2008. Constancy And Change: The Living Processes And Skills In Vernacular Architecture Of Kagera Region-Tanzania: Oslo School of Architecture and Design. 9xiran-labeled.gif.pagespeed.ic.KQod6x47RY.PNG.






Science and Engineering

How to Cite