Across the UK are poorly designed, brick-box housing schemes that look the same whether in Northampton or Southampton – often in a naïve attempt to replicate the ‘traditional’. So amid demands to deliver thousands of affordable new homes fast and within strict energy targets, have we lost sight of what really makes a house a home? And when the UK is such a rich composition of diversity, why can’t this be evident in our housing?

Contemporary Vernacular Design shows that it can. Selecting key examples from around the world, it presents 25 housing schemes that draw on traditional vernacular principles whilst taking into account modern day materials, methods and financial or energy requirements. These are schemes that ‘fit’ their surroundings; homes that generate a sense of place, community and regional identity.

Through first-hand site visits and interviews with both architects and residents, each case-study explores how the schemes were delivered, how they have been received by the community, and how passive principles of vernacular design were applied to create true sustainability. All framed within a wider discussion on what vernacular architecture really is today, this book provides an insightful response to the question, how can British housing rediscover its soul?