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Study and Analysis of Indigenous Dwellings of the Indian Subcontinent

Semester 3 | Humanities

Ar. Manjushree Desai
Ar. Ronak Savla

Studio Conductors

Food, shelter and clothing; form the three primary needs of mankind. For ages, man has been building his shelter to protect him from the weather, the wild animals and to provide himself with a safe environment for carrying out his day to day activities. The involvement of architects in the process of making an abode for citizens is quite recent and has been limited to a small population group.
In a country like India which still has a 70% rural population, most of the homes are still built by people themselves. The skill of building a house has been carried down from generations to generations. Being a geographically and culturally diverse country, the indigenous dwellings in India show a great variety in terms of materials, space planning and the form of the building. However, it’s extremely essential to note that all of it is a tried and tested result of the traditional wisdom acquired by our ancestors over the years. As a result, each traditional dwelling is not just a physical space to live in, but it is also a huge repository of knowledge about the people living in that particular context.
For this exercise, students were divided into groups as per geographical boundaries. The preliminary study began with understanding the geographical (climatic, terrain, natural resources) features of the region. Having developed an overall knowledge about the region, students started identifying different traditional forms of dwelling seen in the region for a detailed study. Students focused on analyzing the built-form of indigenous houses through multiple lenses like climate and terrain response, the materials used, the space-planning, socio-cultural lifestyle of the inhabitants and the relevance and importance of the same in the present day.

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