written by:
December 1, 2014
Present-day interpretations of vernacular architecture can skew more modern than you might think—these examples from the pages of Dwell prove that tying a home to its location is a move that never goes out of style.

Dwell's March 2003 issue profiled a metal-glad dogtrot house in Louisiana designed by Stephen Atkinson. The so-called Zachary House was destroyed in 2005 and eventually rebuilt for clients in North Carolina.

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Modern tiny house facade.

Architect Brett Zamore calls the off-the-grid house he designed in Houston the Shot-Trot because it fuses two regional housing types, the shotgun and the dogtrot.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in The Lowest Utility Bill on the Block
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For a modern take on the traditional Texas bunkhouse, the architect explains, “I wanted more of a skeletal look for this house, and less of a chunky, log-cabin look"—so he added stark steel bracing across the entire length of the porch’s roof structure.

Originally appeared in 10 Modern Gables
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Catovic Hughes’s design for the Morelands is all about embracing the outdoors. Rick spends as much time on the patio as he can. The undulation of the aluminum cladding makes a regular, rhythmic backdrop for the yards-high bamboo he lovingly tends.

A change of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, neighborhood for Rick and Susan Moreland meant a chance to create a thoroughly modern house that owes its sleek, sustainable form to its vernacular roots. Despite the ground floor’s open plan, the corrugated galvanized-aluminum cladding, and the grasping thatches of bamboo in the courtyard, the indoor/outdoor home has ineluctably Southern roots, legible traces of the local vernacular.

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Courtesy of 
Joao Canziani
Originally appeared in Designed to Handle the Heat and More
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Ever aware of context, architect Henry Siegel says of his house, “A lot of architects’ buildings look better on a pedestal than in context. Our design would look out of place on a pedestal—we placed it so it really fits its specific site.”

A California-based architect drew upon his Tennessee roots when designing a straw-bale house for his family; the basic structure references the dogtrot style found throughout the Appalachia mountains.

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Originally appeared in Hay Is for Horses, Straw Is for Houses
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The office space above the kitchen looks out onto the great room.

Canada's Magdalen Islands offer a seaside retreat to two landlocked Quebecers who tapped into the local vernacular with a winsome vacation home. “Once you understand these islands,” says the architect of his clients' admiration for the local wood-framed, painted, building style, “you realize... There’s a certain naiveté, almost a childlike quality, about the architecture here, which we love, and we have to respect that.”

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Originally appeared in Blue in the Facade
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Modern wraparound wooden porch with long steps

A fresh, unconventional take on the traditional farmhouse in southwestern Missouri includes a wraparound porch made of Brazilian ipe and rolling slatted doors screen the living room windows.

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Originally appeared in Modern Take on a Traditional Farmhouse in Missouri
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In the Hebrides, an archipelago off Scotland’s northwest coast, longhouses—narrow single-room dwellings—have been part of the regional vernacular for more than 1,000 years. Dualchas Architects drew from this no-nonsense typology when they designed a pitched-roof modern home for writer Dominic Houlder. 

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stephen atkinson zachary house

Dwell's March 2003 issue profiled a metal-glad dogtrot house in Louisiana designed by Stephen Atkinson. The so-called Zachary House was destroyed in 2005 and eventually rebuilt for clients in North Carolina.

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