Ve r n a c u l a r A r c h i t e c t u r eOf Gujarat
• In the urban landscape of India, one of the most visually appealing spaces is the walled city of Ahmedabad, known for its intricately carved wooden architecture and the neighbourhood settlements of pols.• Pols are enclosed residential clusters entered by gates, which used to be shut at nights.• The essence of a pol is a network of small streets, side lanes, shrines and open community spaces with a chabutaro, a birdhouse raised on a pole to feed birds in the neighbourhood.• The word pol is derived from the Sanskrit word pratoli meaning entrance to an enclosed area.• Pols were originally made as a protection measure when communal riots necessitated greater security. Street view of a Pol Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
THE ORIGIN OF POL SETTLEMENT PATTERN• The pol settlement pattern has a rural origin • One enclosing wall is simultaneously prevalent in the villages of North Gujarat. It the rear wall of a house. With the ends is also called khadki type of settlement. enclosed off, the settlement forms a• Each house is joined to the next by a closed unit guarded by a single common party wall and many such houses gateway used by a large number of form a row opposite it and two rows thus families. The gateway is known as enclose a space in front, which resembles a khadki. ‘street’ but which is, in fact, a common yard. • All the families of a khadki are blood• In order to ensure privacy and security, the relations or belong to the same caste. ends of the common yard are closed off by a • Every village has a number of such wall on one side and a gateway on the other. khadkis belonging to different castes The rear walls of all the houses which are • In cities, khadkis belonging to different exceptionally thick and have no castes may adjoin each other and may windows, form a continuous line. all open into a common street, closed at either end with gates. The city khadkis are called pols. Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
CHARACTERISTICS OF A POL HOUSE• Pol houses have a minimal frontage on the neighbourhood street, which is itself quite narrow.• Side walls of the house are shared with the house next door.• The street façade is heavily treated with wooden structural and decorative elements, including carved Plan of a chowk Khadkee oatla columns, brackets, window shutters and Pol house balconies.• The OATLA – Entrance platform – generally a plinth with a row of columns which marks the limits of the house on the street. used for sitting outside; Section sometimes even for washing dishes and of a Pol clothes; In hindu houses religious house activities takes place in oatla. Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
CHARACTERISTICS OF A POL HOUSE Pol housingPol Houses of Ahmedabad
• BAITHAK – the formal reception space – used for visitors.• The interior rooms were not designated as living room, dining room or bedroom – rather it is very flexible in use.• Easily movable furniture and bedding allow migration from room to room – to Swing in the parsal suit the changing family composition or to accommodate to seasonal changes.• The kitchen, storage rooms for drinking water and Puja room usually have definite spaces• ORADA – Central Hall• PANIYARA – For storing water & grains Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
• CHOWK – the Courtyard is the primary element of the house.• all other rooms are built around the chowk.• It provides the connection between inside and outside for much of the house.• Functions as a light well and a ventilating shaft; moving vertically from the ground floor through the roof.• Traditionally, being open to the sky, these spaces infuse in individuals – the consciousness of nature as well as bringing the Chowk of a House occupants into daily contact with the supernatural and the mythical.• A water tank is usually located beneath the floor of the chowk. Access to the underground water tank Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
• The PARASAL – the verandah space around the court; most utilized spaces in the house.• It serves as a transitional space, between interior and exterior as well as public and private spaces.• The swing is hung in the Parasal.• In the parasal, there is a provision for hearth, where the housewife cooks.• DHUMADIYU – chimney• CHULHA - FireplaceThe roofs of the pol houses are sloping – sheds away the monsoon rains and provides loft space below for storage.• Flat roofs/ terraces provides area for drying clothes and sleeping outside during summer. Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
• On the first floor is the DIWANKHANA – the large hall where guests were received.• The living quarters were on the first floor.• The second floor had bedrooms, and in summer the Agashi (rooftop terrace) was a pleasant place to sleep under the sky. Artwork over a Doorway Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
The wooden door frames and shutters are engraved intricatelyPol Houses of Ahmedabad
CHABUTARO or CHABUTRO • Chabutaro – Bird feeder "a stone or wooden tower with artistic canopy over it constructed to feed birds" is a salient feature of the ambience of any pol in Ahmedabad. • There are nearly 120 of them. • The architecture of a chabutaro is different from the rest because it contains intricate carvings and complicated interlocking system of wood.Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
CLIMATIC CONSIDERATION IN THE HOUSE FORM Three walls are common, so reduces surface area exposed to the sun. Only shorter façade is open for light & Ventilation Chowk provides porosity to the built mass; also gives a sense of openness. Chowk also acts as vent shaft – which sucks the hot air from the house, providing thermalChowk provides comfort in hot dry climatemore surfacearea responding The balcony and projections actto the open space as a buffer protecting innerfor light & spaces from direct sunlight &ventilation. hot winds. Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
CLIMATIC CONSIDERATIONS• Even in Ahmedabad’s hot summer, it was comfortable inside the house. Cool air flowed through the front window into the house, taking the warm air up and out through the chowk. This cooled the entire house. • Wood and stone used as materials for construction – helps in maintaing the comfort level inside the house. • Use of jaali provides protection from hot winds. Pol Houses of Ahmedabad
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