A Thematic Conference of the European Architectural History Network, held in conjunction with the 36th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.


This theme was originally conceptualized by Paul Memmott in his role as Regional Editor of entries from the Australasia and Oceania region for the Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World (EVAW). As the concept developed, he has been assisted by John Ting and Tim O’Rourke. The World EVAW editor, Marcel Vellinga of Oxford Polytechnic, has also been supportive and is participating as a keynote speaker. However, this proposal is not meant to reproduce or compete with the material in EVAW but rather be a higher-level reflection and regional theorisation of issues that arise from some 200 underlying ethnographic studies compiled for EVAW as well as other research materials. In particular we broadly ask ‘What is the relevance and role of Vernacular Architecture research across Australasia and Oceania in informing settlement planning and architectural practice in contemporary contexts?’

The theme includes aspects of regional and sub-regional cultural change through pre-colonisation, colonisation and/or post- colonisation periods into contexts of modernity; including time frames that may deal with local or regional longitudinal change and/or lateral-geographic diffusional change. Interconnecting themes here will likely include some of the following: architectural material culture, cultural identity, semiotics, changing economic determinants, environmental impact aspects, research methodology.

Papers are likely to discuss the reuse of the vernacular in modern contexts for all the varied reasons—politics, identity, tourism etc. Modernity and its architectural consequences have shaped morphologies and building types in the various regions but how and why has the vernacular been used to bridge the distance between the local and the modern? Is it more about differentiation (distance from the colonial/modern) and cultural identity or, in some cases, nationalism, or for other reasons? What role can or does vernacular architecture play in informing settlement planning and architectural (or ethno-architectural) practice in contemporary contexts?



  • 9:00 Acknowledgement to country, welcome and brief introduction to the day’s stream by Prof Paul Memmott
  • 9:02 Marie Durand (Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie), "Concrete Time: Material Temporalities and Contemporary Mobilities in the Vernacular Architecture of Northern Vanuatu, Melanesia"
  • 9:30 Louis Lagarde (University of New Caledonia), "Transformations in New Caledonian Architecture, 1853-1980: An Overview"
  • 10:00 Timothy O’Rourke (University of Queensland), "Vernacular Influences on the Design of Aboriginal Social Housing"
  • 10:30 Min Hall (Unitec Institute of Technology), "Back to Earth: Earth Building in Aotearoa New Zealand 1945-65"


  • 11:30 Edson Cabalfin (University of Cincinnati), "Shifting Definitions of the Vernacular in 20th-Century Philippine Architecture"
  • 12:00 John Ting (University of Canberra), "Vernacular Prefabrication in the Colonial Context: The 1862 Bintulu Type Fort in Sarawak"
  • 12:30 Syed Ahmad Iskandar Syed Ariffin (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia), "Changes and Transformation of Malay Vernacular Houses"


  • 2:30 Ayano Toki (Tohoku University) and Mamiko Miyahara (Saga University), "Approaches to the Bungalow Beyond Time and Distance: Notes of Comparison Between India, United Kingdom, and Australia"
  • 3:00 Marcel Vellinga (Oxford Brookes University), "Re-imagining Vernacularity in Southeast Asia and Oceania" (allowing half hr as a plenary address)


3:30-4:15 A Panel Discussion on the day’s papers will be chaired by visiting guest researcher Dr Gabriele Weichart from the University of Vienna. The composition of the Panel will include Professors Marcel Vellinga and Paul Memmott and three others to be invited.