Dr Charmaine ‘Ilaiū Talei Architectural Discipline Lead, of Kramer Ausenco Pacific Limited, received her publication of HABITAT: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet at the end of 2019. Charmaine contributed two chapters to the book entitled, ‘Timber and Palm Vernacular of Tonga’ (pp. 168-169) and ‘Navala and Lau Bure of Fiji’ (pp. 164-167). The book chapters emerged from the initial stages of Charmaine’s PhD investigations of early Tongan and Fijian architecture. Research was conducted through fieldwork, archives, and ethnographic studies to understand how Tongan and Fijian people currently and previously built with local natural materials. Charmaine chose to study the architectural uses of coconut palm fronds, various pandanus leaves and sugar-cane leaves as types of thatching, as well as the uses of local woods and how they form the structure of vernacular buildings in Tonga and Fiji. Charmaine comments, “My PhD suggests as designers we can invent new building materials and technologies that could be utilised by Pacific people to make their environments.”
Ongoing questions and topics raised in Charmaine’s chapters include resilient architecture against climate change, continuation of traditional knowledge and promoting Pacific economies. The book celebrates Indigenous ingenuity from around the globe, the application of local natural materials and their early technologies to build sustainable and culturally-imbued vernacular architecture.
Thames & Hudson -“An ambitious and important book, created following years of research by an international multidisciplinary team comprising more than 140 academics, climatologists, economists, anthropologists, botanists, architects, engineers, materials scientists and individual researchers …Gathering together the world’s leading experts on vernacular architecture and urban environments, this once-in-a-generation publication examines how cities and local buildings have stood the test of time and offer vital lessons for the future.”
Published in several languages it has been on sale since October 2017 via the Thames & Hudson website and Amazon.
Listing Image: Dr Charmaine ‘Ilaiū Talei with HABITAT: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet book. Photo Credit: Kramer Ausenco Brisbane Office 2020
Banner Image: Graphic from book cover. Photo Credit: Thames & Hudson 2017
Body Image: Chapter from HABITAT: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet book (right). Photo Credit: Kramer Ausenco Brisbane Office 2020