The International Stone Architecture Awards were presented in Verona last month. Architects from Germany, Spain, China, Portugal and India were recently selected by an international jury to receive Marmomacc’s International Stone Architecture Award. The selection was based on the architectural quality of the projects and the expressive use of stone materials. As with previous editions, an “ad memoriam” award was presented, as well as one for vernacular architecture.
Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorize methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances. The “Vernacular” category award is one that caught our attention.
Difficult to access, the region was protected from invasions, making it possible to preserve extraordinary medieval villages (including Mestia, Ushguli and Latali), with their typical tower houses. The main characteristic of these houses is their tower, with a square footprint (15 x 15 feet) and a truncated pyramid shape (about 25 yards tall) !
An extremely challenging way to live by today’s standards, but very effective back then. The structures in the photo are reminiscent of the fairy tale “Rapunzel”, where a young maiden grows up in a similar looking “tower” and her long hair and a prince, eventually save her….