Balkan Vernacular Architecture


Since 1987, Brooke Harrington and Judith Bing have been researching traditional buildings and their environments in the Balkans, more specifically covering countries of the northeastern Mediterranean, from Slovenia in the northwest to Turkey in the east.

The purpose of this web archive is to catalogue and communicate the accumulated photographs, drawings, articles, and other materials created and gathered by the authors over the years of their studies.

The research began in 1987-88 when Professor Harrington received a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to study Old Wooden Buildings of Yugoslavia. Both Brooke and Judy spent eleven months in that (former) country: five months in Belgrade doing preparatory archival research, and six months of travel and field work in all the former Yugoslav republics and adjacent nations (Austria, Hungary, and Turkey). Shorter return trips in 1989 and 1991 augmented that work, prior to the war and dissolution of Yugoslavia, and resulted in a traveling exhibition of their drawings and photographs in the early 1990s. The exhibition was installed at four universities in the United States, at the headquarters of the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC, and portions of the exhibition at the International Research Centre of Islamic History, Culture and Art in Istanbul.

The authors expanded their studies in additional Balkan countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey, with major field trips in 2000, 2004 and 2008. In 2000 an additional goal was to explore one architectural element, the chardak, and how it manifested itself in the traditional buildings of other countries in the Balkans and to the east. In 2004 research of the earliest imagery of vernacular and rural architecture in the Balkans was added as a part of the investigations. Meanwhile, they returned to Bosnia during summers (1994-2004) to participate in the Mostar 2004 Program international workshops for the preservation and reconstruction of that city’s cultural heritage. Various topical publications reveal findings from these studies and the expanding geographic scope, and since 2012, additional university and gallery exhibitions have taken place.

The authors are donating their entire collected works and materials under the title 'Bing & Harrington Balkan Archive' to the Aga Khan Documentation Center at the Libraries of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and the contents of this website are in the process of being incorporated into the AKDC website at archnet.org.

About the authors
J. Brooke Harrington is a Professor Emeritus in the Architecture Department of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia (PA, USA), where he taught from 1983 through 2010; he also taught in the Architecture Department at Drexel University as an adjunct faculty member during a portion of this time. A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, he practiced architecture in Philadelphia and Washington DC. In 1979 he received an Accomplished Professional Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Judith Bing is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Architecture & Interiors at Drexel University in Philadelphia (PA, USA), where she taught from 1988 to 2010. She taught previously at the University of Southern California and Miami University in Ohio. A Bachelor of Arts graduate of Smith College and Masters of Architecture graduate of Yale University, she practiced architecture in Paris, Cambridge (MA), Los Angeles, and most recently with Brooke Harrington in Philadelphia (Bing Harrington Architects, 1987-2010).

Since 2013, Brooke and Judith have been Center Associates at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and Visiting Scholars at the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT.


Last Updated: 2017-06-04