Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Vernacular architecture in the Cuyo Region (Argentina)

Silvia Augusta Cirvini


As it is widely known/universally accepted, the concept of vernacular architecture implies the consideration of certain building terms, such as:
a) Building practices are related to popular wisdom, which is transmitted through tradition, with scarcely or no professional intervention during each construction stage.
b) Native materials and technologies that fit the local bioclimatic features are used to construct these buildings.
c) These types of building practices are mainly related to rural areas, where the modernization of construction technology has not arrived.
Within the Cuyo Region (Argentina), some other conditions related to the physical environment have been added to these particular architecture features: Dry weather and high seismicity characterize the vernacular type of construction.
This article summarizes the outcome of a series of systematic studies: Historical, cataloguing and surveillance, and restoration studies, which our team has been carrying out over several years on these kinds of buildings. Vernacular construction, due to its authenticity and originality, represents a valuable part of the architectural patrimony of the region, but it is also the most vulnerable, since it is at high risk of being lost.
Our aim, through this article is to offer a brief description of the most significant architectural types, providing examples of buildings, which are still preserved, within a frame of analysis of the social-historical and technological situations in which these buildings were erected. The objective of this work is to understand the serial development of certain building traditions, which may be construed –within the historical process- as medium and long lasting phenomena, and to establish a relationship between building techniques in the Cuyo region (Western Argentina) and a wider scope, which is vernacular architecture from the Southern Cone of Latin America.

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