Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The history of Kerala Architecture

Well the basic aim of this blog of mine is to showcase the architecture in and around me and also the things that fascinate me. Kerala architecture is one of them. 

The sole purpose I’m trying to fulfill is to gather and publish as many data I can gather on Vernacular Kerala architecture one to help me understand more of it and two to save the time of very many out there like me. Special thanks to Ravi Damodaran for this architecture on Kerala Architecture. I have divided it into two parts, one dealing with the evolution of Kerala Architecture and two, impact of materials on Kerala Architecture.
The original link to the article can be found below the post.
The history of Kerala Architecture
Kerala Architecture is one of the most exciting examples of preservation of vernacular styles; multiple foreign influences, and Aryan invasion, and Dravidian culture of different rulers and neighbours failed to swamp its independence.
The earliest traces of constructions in Kerala belong to a period roughly between 3000 B.C. and 300 B.C. The evolution of domestic architecture of Kerala followed closely the trend of development in temple architecture. The primitive models of circular, square or rectangular plain shapes with a ribbed roof evolved from functional consideration. Structurally the roof frame was supported on the pillars on walls erected on a plinth raised from the ground for protection against dampness and insects in the tropical climate. Often the walls were also of timbers abundantly available in Kerala. Gable windows were evolved at the two ends to provide attic ventilation when ceiling was incorporated for the room spaces.
This ensured air circulation and thermal control for the roof. The lower ends of the rafters projected beyond the walls to shade the walls from the sun and driving rain. The main door faced only one cardinal direction and the windows are small and made of wood. The square or rectangular plan is usually divided into two or three activity rooms with access from a front passage.  By 10th century, the theory and practice of domestic architecture were codified in books and attempted to standardize house construction suited to strengthen the construction tradition among craftsmen. The traditional ones, especially carpenters, preserved the knowledge by rigidly following the canonical rules of proportions of different elements as well as the construction details. To this day the domestic architecture of Kerala follows the style of detached building; row houses seen in other parts of India are neither mentioned in Kerala texts nor put up in practice except in settlements occupied by Tamil or Konkani Brahmins.

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