Welcome to The Vernacular Architecture Society of South Africa

Because the name is such a mouthful, we use the acronym ‘VASSA’ fairly interchangeably with ‘Vernacs’.
Just so you know, as you read on …

Who We Are

We are a Cape Town based, voluntary, non-profit organisation that aims to support the study and preservation of vernacular architecture in South Africa.

You don’t have to be an architect to join!
Just be curious about your own backyard.

If you are interested in the built landscape you’ll get to know ‘’as much about the Cape Dutch fantastic stuff as the simple things’’ according to James Walton, our founder.


What Does Vernacular Mean?

The Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World defines it as …

”Architecture built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce it”.

Simply put, it means …
Building in indigenous styles, constructed from locally available materials, following traditional building practice and patterns, and not architect-designed.


What We Do

The Society arranges monthly talks on relevant topics, which are open to the public and are free.
We organise monthly outings to areas and buildings of interest, frequently with private access, so that members are introduced to local vernacular architecture first hand.
We also arrange an annual excursion away.
Usually a long weekend in September, to explore further afield, in greater depth.

Professional Perk - Earn CPD Credits

If you are a SACAP registered professional you can earn CPD credits by becoming a member.

VASSA is an Accredited Learning Site (ALS) validated through
the Cape Institute For Architects (CIFA) .

This means you can earn accreditation points each year
while enjoying activities and meeting like-minded peers.
Get more information

Yearly Overviews

Get an idea of what we do,  where we go, and who we meet
on our monthly talks & outings, and annual excursion / weekend-away

Baby Care