Mediterranean Indigenous Architecture: Timeless Solutions for the Human Habitat

Curated by Steven and Cathi House

Mediterranean Indigenous Architecture: Timeless Solutions for the Human Habitat is an exhibition featuring village architecture in Italy, Greece, Spain and Yugoslavia. One hundred and fifty illustrated panels with photographs, sketches, watercolors, batiks and written texts highlight four distinct Mediterranean regions: the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia, the Aegean islands of Greece, the hilltowns of central Italy, and the Andalusian region of southern Spain.

Mediterranean indigenous architecture provides valuable lessons for contemporary designers and builders on how to design responsive housing. Indigenous architecture, evolving in close relation to local climate, materials, topography and lifestyle, can suggest forms and a philosophical position to contemporary architects aiming to create more livable environments.

The exhibition was produced by Steven and Cathi House, both architects in the San Francisco architecture and graphic design firm of House + House. They maintain a diversified practice offering comprehensive architectural, graphic and environmental design services. During 1975-76 they spent eight months traveling through Europe, where they began a comprehensive documentation on the nature and quality of Mediterranean architecture. In 1982 they finished their studies on Mediterranean villages, after completing nine months of on-site documentation. Their first project after opening their office was the production of this traveling exhibition, which opened at the American Institute of Architects Gallery in San Francisco. Mediterranean Indigenous Architecture was the culmination of nearly seven years of research, including fourteen months of on-site study and documentation of villages in the Mediterranean region.

This exhibition was complemented by three lectures: Steven and Cathi House spoke on the exhibition and Greek island villages; Norman Carver, architect and author, on Italian hill towns and Iberian villages; and Professor Tom Miller, on “Earth Shelter Houses in Capadosia, Turkey."