STUDIO PROFILE

Emergent Vernacular Architecture, established in 2014, is a London-based research and design practice with an overseas branch in Haiti. 

EVA founders have a combined wealth of experience in architecture and design, having worked for renowned practices such as Massimiliano Fuksas, as well as having worked for several years in developing countries such as Haiti and Bolivia.

Between London and Port-au-Prince, our practice has a team of over ten talented designers and field architects, with different backgrounds and a broad experience and expertise.

EVA’s portfolio extends over a wide range of projects from public spaces, schools to housing for international organisations such as Global Communities, American Red Cross, USAID and J/P HRO.

PHILOSOPHY

We must begin by understanding that every place is given its character by certain patterns of events that keep on happening there.’

- Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building

Patterns are all around us, in the cities and towns we live in, the roads we drive on, the buildings we inhabit, the paths we walk and communities we belong to. Systems arise from disassociated, smaller and individual dynamics, bringing about larger and organic patterns and regularities. This is the emergent process. It is an ant colony, swarm of birds, communities, and languages.

We strive to observe, study and research these emergent systems and apply them to our design process. What patterns and individual events already exist on a site that can be applied to a design solution?  How can design shape the identity of a place and be part of sustainable development?

We adopted the vernacular in our design approach to respond to these emergent systems. Vernacular is derived from a place, specific to an environment and culture, local, native in both its form and material. Vernacular is neither necessarily historical nor traditional, rather it is something much more inherent, a transformative outcome over time to its specific context.

Architecture is what we consider being the key to an efficient and socially inclusive process that explores communities’ vision and potential, and that promotes equity, resiliency and the formation of social capital.

APPROACH

At the core of our studio approach lies a research and design process that aims to promote equity and fight social ills and aligns with sustainable development goals as part of a new urban agenda.

We provide innovative solutions to the challenges and issues that exist in communities of diverse backgrounds. Central to our approach is a participatory process which incorporates the perspectives of the different actors in the environment.

We adopt “top-down” and “bottom-up” strategies, where local government and grassroots become integral to the implementation of the design. Architects, as process makers, may play a key role in facilitating the conversation between urban planners and local communities.

In addition to an honest assessment of existing framework and problematics, our work is founded on the research of a project’s context from a cultural perspective, which encompasses local language, daily habits, locally-available technology and where the interaction of local traits develops into patterns that define the identity of a place.