The Traditional Arab House in the Eastern Mediterranean and its Adaptation to the Mediterranean Climate

Efat Hamza, Shlomit Paz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the climate-related methods of adaptation on which the traditional Arab house in the Eastern Mediterranean was based. We analysed nine old houses (from the 18th century to the early 20th century), built in the Arab vernacular tradition style, in three areas of Israel with different climatic conditions. Three houses in each area were chosen at random. Only nine were chosen because of the difficulty in finding houses whose state of preservation was in keeping with the aims of the research. For each house, climate-related elements of the construction were documented. We found elements included at the design stage indicating climate consciousness, climate-related elements due to building constraints, and building constraints in a cultural context with implications for the balance of climatic efficiency. The findings showed that climatic considerations were an integral part of the design while the principles crossed the boundaries of the three areas. Temperature, relative humidity, and heat intensity were measured, both inside and outside the house on selected days in each season. The research showed that the house moderates the impact of the outside temperature, inside the house in winter and mainly during the hot hours of the day in summer. Most of the climate-related elements are still relevant. They can be used in regions with Mediterranean-type climates (in the Mediterranean Basin, South Africa, central Chile, and southwestern Australia), especially when global warming and air pollution demand a substantial revolution of building design philosophies, strategies, technologies, and management methods.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalGeographical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Climate consciousness
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Traditional Arab house

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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