Chicago based architectural historian Elizabeth Blasius is exploring and defending vernacular architecture, that is designed and based on local materials, needs and traditions.


Elizabeth Blasius is attracted by grassroots forms and paradoxical meanings in architecture and urbanism, which reveal the life of real people. She frequently travells throughout the Midwest researching interesting old buildings.  

«What inspired the original historic preservation/cultural heritage movement is a sense of purpose in retaining what makes communities unique, to save all that is vernacular from the threat of institutional or corporate uniformity,» she says. «The spaces that matter to people and memory aren’t ones designed by Mies, Wright or Sullivan, but those made complete by human experience. Our grandmother’s Permastone-clad rowhouse. The 24-hour diner where we shared a plate of fries with our first love.  The midcentury motel where our father spent his first few sleepless nights after crossing the border from Mexico. Perhaps what’s significant and what’s historic shouldn’t be for the academic to decide».

Check Elizabeth's personal blog in which she reveals many interesting places, objects and archetypes of american vernacular architecture, such as bungalows, mansard roofs, roadside snack bars, 19th century workers cottages and even a small wooden newsstand on one of the streets of Chicago. Her stories are colorful, very human and full of love. You can also read an article about Elizabeth in a local Chicago newspaper, which contains interesting information about the life in Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago and its community.     

Elizabeth Blasius. The pictures used in this article are taken from her blog "Blaservations"