Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-10-2014


Rokahr, Christopher C. "Modern Vernaculars: The Utility of Place-Centric Design" Master of Architecture Thesis, The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014


A THESIS Presented to the Architecture Faculty of The College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Architecture, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Timothy Hemsath. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Christopher C. Rokahr


For the majority of human existence, vernacular evolution has been the primary means through which technology has progressed. Said progress is the result of a collective intellectual effort amongst generations of a specific people. The resulting vernacular artifacts are highly refined domestic objects of utility, reflective of the cultural practices and place centric stimuli from which they derived. Despite their modest appearances, the value of these vernacular objects in the greater scheme of human progress is undeniable. Given the value of their contribution, it is discerning that vernacular evolution has all but ceased in the developed world. The following thesis calls to question the abandonment of vernacular evolution and strives to derive a modern vernacular based on the fusion of place centric vernacular principles and contemporary technological capacities.

As a departure point, geographic instances of place centric similarity to specified location shall be derived. From said instances, an array of vernacular precedents will be analyzed to determine formal logic, organization, material appropriation, and building technologies. Commonalities amongst these precedents shall then be extracted and formed into a series of vernacular principles from which new vernaculars can evolve.

Vernacular exploration will then proceed in both small and large scale design interventions. The resulting solutions shall combine individual designerly knowledge with place centric vernacular principles in order to forge new place centric vernacular compositions.

Upon completion of the design exercises, a reflective stance shall be taken as to the lasting value of approaching design in a vernacular manner.

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