The Open Construction & Building Technology Journal




ISSN: 1874-8368 ― Volume 13, 2019

The Wisdom of Mediterranean Traditional Architecture Versus Contemporary Architecture – The Energy Challenge


The Open Construction and Building Technology Journal , 2010, 4: 29-38

Despina K. Serghides

Department of Environmental Managemnent,/Faculty of Geotechnical Sciences and Environmental Managemnent, Cyprus University of Technology, 31 Archbishop Kyprianos , 3036 Lemesos, Cyprus, P.O. Box 50329, 3603 Lemosos, Cyprus.

Electronic publication date 30/3/2010
[DOI: 10.2174/1874836801004010029]

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Domestic vernacular architecture has evolved over many years to address the problems inherent in housing. Through a process of trial and error our predecessors have found ways to cope with the extremes of climate. The influence of Western cultures is, however, all pervading. The trend towards an internationalized style of building could result in a reduction in the traditional solutions, which have served several cultures well for many centuries.

Of course, people quite rightly demand high standards of comfort in buildings. Such standards can be achieved by using modern air-conditioning systems, which are expensive in initial cost and are very demanding of energy in the long term.

It is possible to create the standards required with the careful use of traditional techniques of thermal control. The advantages are clear; there is a dramatic reduction of energy needs and an increased use of the architectural style with which people feel at ease. This is not to say that designers should ape the ways of the past. Modern materials, computer technology and innovative construction techniques must be used in the search for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, to ignore our architectural heritage is at our peril and to disregard the accumulated wisdom of the past is at best ill-informed and at worse arrogant.

This paper examines the traditional forms of vernacular architecture in Cyprus and explains how the designs create an appropriate internal environment. The contemporary and evolving styles are analysed to indicate how modern techniques address the problems of thermal control. Finally comparisons are made to determine if lessons can be learnt. The comparisons will be made from results derived from optimization studies of the contemporary houses, through varied design and the use of natural sources of energy to achieve comfort conditions.

For the optimization studies microcomputer version of “SERI-RES” and “5000 Method” were used


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