What is The Vernacular Architecture Society of South Africa?

It’s a voluntary organisation that aims to support the study and preservation of vernacular architecture in South Africa.
It’s Cape Town based, not for profit, and run by members in their spare time.

You don’t have to be an architect to join!
Just be curious about your own backyard, and open to exploring things.
If you are interested in the built landscape you’ll have fun, and get to know ‘’as much about the Cape Dutch fantastic stuff as the simple things’’ according to James Walton, our founder.

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

What Does Vernacular Mean?

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

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”.

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.

Professional Perk

Earn CPD credits by becoming a member if you are a SACAP registered professional.
VASSA is an Accredited Learning Site (ALS) validated through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. This means you can earn accreditation points each year while enjoying activities and meeting like-minded peers.
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What Else We Do

We publish a bi-annual journal, as well as surveys, reports, guides for researchers etc. that are available for purchase and are downloadable.
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