03 July 2017

Darren Fong learning the VERNADOC method in ThailandThis month, 25 students from the University of South Australia will travel to Banda Aceh Indonesia to document cultural built architectural heritage sites under the guidance of
Dr Julie Nichols

Dr Nichols was awarded funding for the trip in 2015 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, for a project proposal to record built cultural heritage.

The students from the School of Art, Architecture and Design will be studying various building techniques and the socio-cultural conditions of traditional village architecture while in Banda Aceh through a methodology called VERNADOC (vernacular documentation). The method involves collecting data and information on site through basic techniques to produce high quality measured drawings.

Indonesian universities, Thai colleagues, local and international architects and educators will also be involved in the documentation work.

The drawings will be consolidated and housed in Aceh (Indonesia), digitally accessible to Acehnese people, international researchers, tourists and interested parties and also translated into Acehnese, Bahasa Indonesian, Dutch and English.

Students will explore remote and unique built environments, learn drawing and measuring skills that require intensive on site periods of investigation. They will gain a cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of different perspectives in architectural and interior practices.

Dr Nichols is the lead researcher on this project and learned the VERNADOC method while in Thailand.

“Vernacular knowledge refers to intrinsic knowledge which informs everyday lives through socio-cultural experiences, craft based practices, design and creation of built environments,” Dr Nichols said.

“It is not limited to a particular time period as knowledge often alters over time.

“Modes of recording this knowledge is important to observe change, reflect from a design critical and conceptual perspective to observe how future environments and practises might be done differently, improved or reinstated.”

“The attendees will gain practical and relevant skills on this camp while forming part of an intercultural team.

“I hope the students gain leadership skills for future VERNADOC camps and develop international relations and contacts for their future global professional practice.”

On Friday 7 July, Dr Nichols will launch the Vernacular Knowledge Research Group at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In attendance will be Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Denise Meredyth in addition to senior executives from international partner Indonesian universities, the Association of Siamese Architects and Oral Traditions Association.

The interdisciplinary team will come together on research projects to look at how vernacular knowledge can be recorded, redesigned, rethought, disseminated and reused for the future design of built space and objects.

This specialist research centre will be based at UniSA to give the group’s work an identity of a global scale.

Media contact: Georgia Aish mobile: +61 435 658 176 email: georgia.aish@unisa.edu.au

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