Vernacular Residential Architecture in the Context of Sustainability – Case Study of Svrzo's House Complex


  • Sandra Martinovic Mechanical Engineering Faculty, University of Sarajevo
  • Nurin Zecevic Mechanical Engineering Faculty, University of Sarajevo
  • Amira Salihbegović



contemporary architecture, vernacular architecture, sustainability, environment, thermal comfort


This paper analyses the presence of sustainable elements in one of the most representative surviving examples of vernacular residential architecture from the Ottoman period, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The focus is on the significance of vernacular architectural elements, which can serve as an inspiration for contemporary building design in the context of sustainability. Two main aspects need to be considered: respecting the inter-relationship between humans, nature, climate, and local surroundings, and adaptation of design to the time in which it was created. Svrzo’s house complex, as National Monument, is chosen as a case study, and detailed survey was conducted regarding the presence of sustainable design principles i.e., building form, use of local materials, orientation, adaptation to local climate and topography, passive cooling and natural-induced ventilation, water, and vegetation. A traditional architectural treasure – a functional, simple, and aesthetically valuable concept, shows that ambient requirements were met with minimal energy consumption and material waste from construction to consumption, achieving a responsible ethical attitude towards the environment. The analysis also includes an evaluation of energy efficiency aspects, by comparing the actual heat transmission values of the building elements with the allowable heat transmission values, prescribed by regulation. The actual average heat transmission values are higher which indicates that although the positive impacts of using natural local materials are wide, in terms of enhancing thermal properties, these sustainability features alone are not sufficient to prevent heat losses without proper thermal insulation.