Development of historically valuable rural setting, whether based on conservation, preservation or restoration viewpoint, relies on different variables, which are rooted in a profound understanding of the meaning of rural setting. Rural setting is the integration of building, behaviors and beliefs of human beings, but what makes rural setting as a unique phenomenon is its indigenous culture that is an important component to create the balance between development and conservation approaches. Human’s interaction with nature and nature’s response to human needs makes up the concept of vernacular, which holds within itself the culture that at least in its tectonic sense would signify ‘the center-piece of Iranian architectural tradition.’ Preservation of these values, in line with development, is necessary for the present generation, and justifies further research in this context.
The prevalent dependence of human on technology in rural areas has crossed over its traditional limits of basic needs for security and comfort and shifted toward higher levels of welfare, which in turn calls for new measures in development. However, the definite need for protection of historic architecture in line with development requires deeper understanding of factors that are both rooted in valuable historical heritage and is capable of embracing development. This paper examines the interaction of development and preservation of values bearing in mind vernacular culture. Furthermore, in conservation and restoration processes, especially in rural setting considering its context, this component is a very important developmental strategy from local scale to global scale. Conservation based upon this approach is emphasized on the process of life and human harmony with nature and their mutual interaction. In indigenous culture, the relationship between tradition and nature, the craftsmanship and bilateral influences of native people as they modify their surrounding natural conditions is of greatest authenticity. Accordingly, conservation, restoration and development based on indigenous culture, is emphasized on the process of life & human harmony with nature and the interaction between them. This attitude leads to minimum negative environmental impact that results in a responsive design culture empowering sense of place, designing with nature and utilizing natural forms and processes, respecting the objective aspects of nature while considering the people in the design process. Such design would be vernacularly pertinent to by benefitting from sustainable elements in revitalization to enrich their restored identity. These sustainable elements are the qualities and capabilities that rural space possesses due to history and rich cultural heritage and collective values of society that is crystallized in its physical and spatial forms to be transferred to the next generation. In other words, the ecological and vernacular milieus are relatively reliable systems for transferring cultural heritage of society and its values. In this manner, new actions such as adding new functions that are performed upon buildings with rural historical value should be respective to their identity and cultural values. This study raises issues such as the role of culture as an important development strategy in connection with tourism, vernacularism, and sustainability, in addition to the subject of place identity in the cycle of restoration of historic architecture all of which as guiding hypotheses towards the aim of the research. It also aims to evaluate the success of development plans for valuable rural settings with reference to vernacular culture. The argument draws on the views of various Iranian and foreign scholars and describes their experiences. The nature of the research question, along with its process and aims calls for a qualitative content analysis, description, and interpretation.