What is vernacular architecture??... The purest definition of vernacular architecture is simple…it is architecture without architects. It is the pure response to a particular person’s or society’s building needs. It fulfils these needs because it is crafted by the individual and society it is in. In addition the building methods are tested through trial-and-error by the society of which they are built until their building methods near perfection (over time) and are tailored to the climatic, aesthetic, functional, and sociological needs of their given society. Becausethe person constructing the structure tends to be the person who will be using it, the architecture will be perfectly tailored to that individual’s particular wants and needs.
One of the most important things that we can learn by looking atvernacular architecture is the seemingly simple (almost low-tech)methods of which we can create a building that is perfectlyadapted to the building’s users and the building’s locale.At face value these methods seem trivial yet are in fact quite complexand extremely effective because they have been tested over time andhave evolved to fit a society’s needs.We can learn from this and it can help prevent some of the devastatingthings architects do, namely sacrificing a building’sfunction, comfort, or ecological friendliness in the pursuit of someaesthetic quality or even worse, an architect’s egotistical pursuits.Its a belief in general, that architects have good intentions but fallshort because many of the basic principles that are taken into accountin all forms of vernacular architecture are often neglected by modernday architects.
Vernacular architecture is perfect because it is derived through theapplication of local materials and building techniques to createbuildings that function as what they are meant to function as.Because the building’s design and construction is intimately innertwined with the person who will be using the structure, the finalproduct functions exactly as intended. These building maximize thelocal knowledge of how buildings can be effectively designed aswell as how to effectively use local materials and resources.
Local materials used invernacular architecture.
ClimateThe humid subtropical climate is noted for its warm summermonths, and relatively mild winters. Summer temperatures averagebetween 21o (69.8oF) to 26o C (78.8oF) and no winter month has anaverage temperature below 0oC (32oF). Many days the temperaturecan hit 32oC (90oF) or higher.The high humidity experienced in the humid subtropical climate makeswarm days feel oppressive. The daily temperature range tends to bevery small as the evening does not cool down much during thesummer.
• Characteristics• High humidity; summers like humid tropics.• Frost with polar air masses in winter.• 25 to 100 in of precipitation, decreasing inland.• Monsoon influence in Asia. Main article: Geography of Himachal Pradesh• Climate• Temperature • • Avg. Winter 7 °C (45 °F)• • Avg. Summer 28 °C (82 °F)• Precipitation 1,469 mm (57.8 in)• Himachal is situated in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,673 kilometres (34,594 mi), Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous state with elevation ranging from about 350 metres (1,148 ft) to 7,000 metres (22,966 ft) above the sea level. The Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall. They are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation.
• There is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to extreme variation in elevation.• Rainfall: The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges. The state has areas like Dharamsala that receive very heavy rainfall, as well as those like Lahaul and Spiti that are cold and almost rainless.• Summer: Broadly Himachal experience three seasons; hot weather season, cold weather season and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in alpine zone which experience mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from 28 °C (82 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F).• Winter: lasts from late November till mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above 2,200 metres (7,218 ft) i.e. in the Higher and Trans-Himalayan region).
• Vernacular Architecture of Himachal Pradesh, India • Traditional House in Solan (Himachal Pradesh, India) • [The south east side elevation]•• Traditional dwelling which have evolved over the ages have been influenced by these factors: • Climatic response to the environment. • Cultural pattern of the inhabitants. • Adaptability of the house according to the social lifestyle. • Locally available construction material..
• LOCATION • Site plan showing the scarcity of houses• The house is located in village Basal, Solan in Himachal Pradesh.• Built on a gentle hill slope which is sparsely populated, it has a small water channel running besides it.• dwelling was built in 1923 and occupied by an agrarian family whose main preoccupation was to stores grains efficiently.• Built around 80 years back, the house belongs to an agrarian family.• Situated along a gentle slope, the density of houses is less and lot of greenery.• Hills give this house it scenic beauty.• The house has been built taking into account the furious winters when it snows and the summers, which make the house really warm.
GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITION Diagram showing precipitation level in Solan• Solan lies at an altitude of 1750 m above the sea level in middle himalayas.• Although in cold and cloudy climate the place experiences a fair number of sunny days.• It experiences a fairly long winter with a severe cold spell of about two months with short wet periods.• The summers are pleasant with maximum temperature 29c.
• LAYOUT PLAN• The house has been built such that the cow-shed and kitchen form a separate unit, away from the living quarters.• The living quarters basically include bedrooms and stores for storage of grains.• the house includes compact planning so it can b seen that there is a opening infront of opening i.e. they have used cross ventilation as an element
• ELEVATIONS• Elevation bb’• The sloping roof as seen in the traditional dwelling is a common feature in all the houses in the area as is compact planning of the house.Since the climate is very pleasant In addition to the sloping roofs andThey have added open spaces open spaces the house is providedthroughout the house egs. Balconies. with large arcaded openings.
• SECTIONS• The house which constitutes many stores has been built for storage of grains which formed the back bone of the agrarian family.• Boxes of various sizes can be found.
• THE ATTIC• An interesting part of the house is the attic which is used to store corn which forms the staple diet of the people.• The two windows on the sides ventilate and dry the corn at the same time protecting from the rain.• Although the main function of the attic is to insulate the house, it serves as an excellent storage space.• There are two objectives of adding an attic on the floor- a floor above keeps the below floors cool. The second objective is that it helps to store grains . The attic is provided with a jaali ventilator so that it keeps the room ventilated.
• All the building construction material used is locally available like the stone and sand of which the walls are made, the timber is also readily available.• The staircase used to reach the first floor of the house is made of timber, with stone slabs also introduced.• BUILT FORM • The house as seen from south side. (Paper Model)• The built form of the house constitutes about 60% of the plot area.• The house in its totality forms a compact unit.• As a general rule the houses do not have a boundary wall.
The cow shed and north side elevation of the house• The timber truss which covers the first floor roof is effective in insulating the house as well.