I find it interesting to contemplate the reasons why different countries implement different types and combinations of materials for their buildings. I have seen a lot of what can be referred to as “regional architecture,” which consists of materials/ combinations unique to a certain place, throughout textbooks or via the Internet. For example: igloos and clay houses. I think it’s fascinating to learn how people use their own regional materials for their buildings, optimizing their structures to be best suited to their particular climate or environment.
In Yemen, buildings are made of only dry bricks. Because the climate of Yemen is very dry, this otherwise impossible structure optimizes cost effectiveness and efficiency in the region. The designs of the buildings are creative and unique, like the picture below, which shows a square structure standing on a cylinder, something that would be hard to come by in most other areas. I really enjoy the way in which the unique designs combined with the unique regional material that makes such designs possible have the ability to express a regions characteristics and atmosphere.
As the author of the original entry states, U.S. houses are generally made of wood; Japanese houses are also built primarily of wood. Since termites like to invade the humid parts of wood, owners of wood structured houses have suffered from termite problems for a long time: not only is it a problem to have termites in one’s house, but the termites eat away at the structure, weakening it. Traditional Japanese houses exposed their inner parts, leaving enough space under the flooring for people to enter, thus expecting the issue of termites and leaving the space open in preparation for future extermination trips. This extra space has many other advantages, such as storage space and air circulation. When foreign woods became popular for modern Japanese houses, the rate of structural damage caused by termites increased, because foreign woods are weaker to the humidity of Japan than regional woods are. So, in Japanese traditional houses as well, regional materials were implemented with unique designs to optimize the functionality of buildings.