The architectural culture of the Eurasian Mediterranean region: a testimony of satisfactory design for urban infrastructures (May 2014)

Susana M. Varela Alvaro, F. Javier Neila González


The purpose of this paper is to expose the importance of observing cultural systems present in a territory as a reference for the design of urban infrastructures in the new cities and regions of rapid development. If we accept the idea that architecture is an instrument or cultural system developed by man to act as an intermediary to the environment, it is necessary to understand the elemental interaction between man and his environment to meet a satisfactory design.
To illustrate this purpose, we present the case of the Eurasian Mediterranean region, where the architectural culture acts as a cultural system of adaptation to the environment and it is formed by an ancient process of selection. From simple observation of architectural types, construction systems and environmental mechanisms treasured in mediterranean historical heritage we can extract crucial information about this elemental interaction.
Mediterranean architectural culture has environmental mechanisms responding to the needs of basics habitability, ethnics and passive conditioning. These mechanisms can be basis of an innovative design without compromising the diversity and lifestyles of human groups in the region. The main fundament of our investigation is the determination of the historical heritage of domestic architecture as holder of the formation process of these mechanisms.
The result allows us to affirm that the successful introduction of new urban infrastructures in an area need a reliable reference and it must be a cultural system that entailing in essence the environmental conditioning of human existence. The urban infrastructures must be sustainable, understood and accepted by the inhabitants. The last condition is more important when the urban infrastructures are implemented in areas that are developing rapidly or when there is no architectural culture.


architecture, culture, design, domestic, dwelling, heritage, history, Mediterranean

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