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SUSTAINABILITY AND VERNACULAR

DWELLINGS
As has been already described, vernacular dwellings are
inherently sustainable in design and are responsive to
the climate, culture, and socio-economic conditions of
the area. As per the BIS, the country has been divided
into five major climatic zones: Hot and dry, warm and
humid, temperate, cold, and composite. The typical
vernacular dwellings of three climatic zones, namely hot
and dry, warm and humid, and cold were compared to
understand the sustainability of each prototype.

CLIMATE ZONE 1 Hot and Dry


Situated in the north western part of the country, the
Thar desert covers the states of Rajasthan and partly
Gujarat. The vernacular architecture of the desert is an
artistic expression of the climate and the culture of
Rajasthan. The people of the region have evolved a
lifestyle with the judicious use of the available natural
resources. There is a distinct divide between the kuccha
and pukka vernacular architecture of Rajasthan. The
Kuccha is defined by the dhani in Rajasthan and the
boonga in the Kutch region, while the pukka architecture
is dominated by the haveli kind of architecture prevailing

Vernacular Prototype - Haveli


Narrow meandering streets negotiating the topography of
the settlement, with dense tightly packed havelis built
around a courtyard with exquisite carved stone facades.
Pols- urban neighbourhoods segregated on the basis of caste
Two-three storeys high, with a rectangular deep plan and a
very narrow frontage on the street, built around a courtyard
or a series of courtyards.
Raised platform on either side of the main entrance gate
along the streets known as otla or basali semi private zone
and an extension of the house in the street.

Vernacular Prototype - Haveli


The courtyard nucleus of the house
Use changes with time of the day and season of the year
Primary source of light and ventilation

Multifunctional rooms
For example: the kitchen spills out into the angaan or sal
which is also used as the family area in the day and for
sleeping at night.

Jharokhas on first floor with intricate jaali work

Vernacular Prototype - Haveli


Construction
Thick and solid load bearing masonry walls, mostly made of random rubble
with lime plaster
Timber used as structural component to span roofs, doors and windows
Stone slabs used for flooring

Climate responsive factors

Passive cooling due to courtyard


Self shading due to narrow streets with tall buildings around it
Insulating roof
Convective cooling due to the jharokhas
External surface painted in light colors to reflect light
Time lag created due to stone as the building material

Shekhawati Haveli - Rajasthan


Shekhawati means the land of Shekhas clan
derive its name from Rao Shekha (1422 AD
1488 AD, a king).
Sustainable factors:
Society- male dominated
Economy- rich traders
Resources- stone, lime, sand, mud and clay
Climate- hot and dry

Primeval physiological objective


Reduction of intense solar radiation on external
surfaces
Lowering down of internal temperatures
Sufficient air ventilation
Maintaining the privacy of women

Shekhawati Haveli - Rajasthan

Inner main
courtyard

Entrance
court
Basali
Ground floor and first floor plan of a small

Shekhawati Haveli - Rajasthan

Longitudinal
section

Traverse section

Shekhawati Haveli - Rajasthan

Inner courtyard with semi open spaces


around it

Compact
planning to
reduce solar
radiation

Shekhawati Haveli - Rajasthan

Street faade
showing
elaborate
paintings
External view jharokhas on upper
floor

Udaipur Haveli
Location:Rajasthan, Situated
in a valley , surrounded by the
Aravalis
Climate:Largely hot and arid
Time of
construction:approx. 200 yrs
ago , i.e. 1800s

Udaipur Haveli
The haveli consists of 3
courtyards, viz,
One outside the haveliMeant for tying domestic
animals, evening walks,
celebrating special occasions.
Central courtyard- For
family get-togethers, children
playing, offering morning
prayer, holding feasts.
Within the
zenana(females) crushing
spices, drying masalas,
grinding wheat, get together
of the women.

Udaipur Haveli

Udaipur Haveli

Bikaner
The district of Bikaner lies
almost at the northern most
edge of the desert.
The surface is for the most part
covered with undulating sand
hills, varying in height from
10m to over 30m.
The land is as dry as a desert
can possibly be, with no
perennial rivers or streams.

Bikaner
The houses are constructed out of
stone as well as mud.
Rectangular rooms arranged in
geometric pattern around the
courtyard
constitute
the basic plan form.
All major spaces are rectangular,
with flat stone slabs or rough wood
roofs, except for ones that are
circular which are either kitchen or
store with a conical thatched roof.

Bikaner
Exterior Mud wall
construction

Small
openings

Roof material

Conical thatch
roof
Interior
yard

Jaisalmer- haveli
The most complex and
interesting residential buildings
in Jaisalmer are the havelis built
by the rich merchants or
courtiers.
There are underground rooms
as well, sometimes at two
levels one below the other.
The uppermost storey
comprises terraces enclosed by
wind pavillions and high
parapet walls.
In some cases, the house is
built around two courtyards.

Jaisalmer- haveli

Nathmaljis Haveli, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer- haveli

Nathmaljis Haveli, Jaisalmer

Vernacular prototype- Bhunga


House of Jaisalmer
The villagers of Jaisalmer build
circular houses of mud, roofed
with thatch materials eminently
suited to their hostile desert
environment.
The clustering of huts and the
arrangement of open spaces
reflect their life-styles and social
structure.
Bhungas are built on a raised
platform and circulation is
carried out on it.
A cluster of bhunga built on the
plinth contains settlements of one
whole family.

Vernacular prototype- Bhunga


House of Jaisalmer
Enclosed by a mud wall,
diameter of a bhunga house
varies from 3 to 5 m
In places which are likely to
face inundation during the
rains, the walls are made up of
sun dried clay blocks and
finished with mud plaster
These walls cannot carry the
load of the roof and they are
not rigid enough to hold it.

Vernacular prototype- Bhunga


House of Jaisalmer
Construction Details
For the roof, a conical
wooden frame is made of
sticks which rise from the
wall and are tied at crown to
create the cone.
The cone is surfaced
externally with thatch.
A wooden prop placed in
the centre of the beam
supports the conical roof and
helps transfer the load to
the post through the beam.

Vernacular prototype- Bhunga


House of Jaisalmer

Vernacular prototype- Bhunga


House of Jaisalmer

Bhunga settlement of a family

Vernacular prototype- Bhunga


House of Jaisalmer
Mirror-studded clay decoration,
embroidered cloths and painted
earthenware contribute to the
rich ambience of a bhunga
interior.

Bhil tribal architecture


They forms the largest
tribe of the whole South
Asia. Bhils are mainly
divided into two main
groups the central or
pure bills and eastern or
Rajput Bhils.
The central Bhils are
found in the mountain
regions in
theIndianstates of
Madhya Pradesh,

Bhil tribal architecture


A typical house of the Bhil
tribe of Rama village in
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
which has a small
compound surrounded by
huts that act as living
rooms, a workshop, a
bathroom, a store room,
an extra space to keep
their wares, a kitchen and
an indigenous refrigerator

Bhil tribal architecture


Features:

an entrance without a door,


a window or two,
conical grass roof
white walls with some
artistic drawings
Clay and thatch roof
Mud and clay walls which
are sometimes coated with
cow-dung

Bhil tribal architecture


The refrigeration hut
The base of this structure is
drilled through and through to let
the heat from the earth escape,
keeping the items inside cool.
The walls are made of clay and
cow-dung paste, which are again
natural coolants
the roof is conical in shape to
deflect the sunrays
used to stock curd, milk, butter
milk or any item that needs
refrigeration.

Other tribes
Meena tribe:
Meenas like to stay scattered unlike the south Indian tribes
who like to stay in clusters.
Most of the hills have not more than two or three houses.
Each of these houses will have a single room and a single
entrance.
Since there are no windows, door is the only source for light to
creep in.
It would be ideal in this place of extreme climates.

Garia lohars

References
Gupta, V. Indigenous architecture and natural cooling. Energy and resources, 41.
Retrieved from
http://space-design.com/upload/RS0005.pdf
Gupta, V. (1985) . Natural cooling systems of Jaisalmer. Architectural science
review, 58. Retrieved from
http://www.space-design.com/upload/rs0007.pdf
Agarwal, A. , Ahuja, R., & Jain, R. K., (2006) . Shekhawati: urbanism in the semidesert of India A climatic study . PLEA2006 - The 23rd Conference on Passive and
Low Energy Architecture. Retrieved from
http://www.unige.ch/cuepe/html/plea2006/Vol1/PLEA2006_PAPER978.pdf
Tipnis, A. , Sustainability and vernacular dwellings. Vernacular Traditions:
Contemporary Architecture, 41-44.
Rappoport, A. , House Form and Culture.