From the land filled with rich ancient history, to the land full of people who have a brilliant knack for architecture, and to the land filled with spaces that have a unique history, India has been known for its heritage and originality. Using available materials, the best is something we Indians are well known for quite well (Jugaad xP)

Vernacular style of buildings is the architecture of using locally available materials and creating comfortable structures. This was a popular method of building structures back then due to its climate-responsive materials that would cater more to the surrounding context. So, time to delve into some of the most noteworthy vernacular buildings from all the 4 sides prevalent in the land of heritage, India!

Bhunga House, Gujrat

Starting from the western end of India, Gujarat. Kutch is a small district in this vibrant state that houses a particular style of housing called Bhunga. A beautiful practice that has existed for more than 200 years and continues to stand today in rural areas. Bhunga is a circular-shaped dwelling, great for resistance to earthquakes with a conical roof. Typically, 3-6 meters in size it is meant for a single-family unit and is usually found where the site is quite flat.

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Bhunga House Elevation_©

The material that goes into the construction of this housing is mud blocks that well suit the climate of the hot and dry lands of Kutch and are available in abundance while making sure the structure is quite lightweight. Cow dung is added as an additional plastering layer to keep the house warm in winter.

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Bhunga House plan and sections_©—–d23bbdacf9dd

Koti Banal, Uttrakhand

Structures that date back 900 years that stand tall today along with being in a seismically high zone are set in a small town called Koti Banal in Uttarakhand. An area that is known for its challenging terrain and extreme temperatures this structure is present due to the remarkable vernacular style of construction.

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Koti Banal_©

It comprises locally available materials like wood which is a popular material choice in cold regions along with stone and mud. Different components are comprised of different materials. For instance, the foundation is made of stone which makes sure it is strong enough to stand tall while the roof is made of wood to shelter against the cold winds.

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Breakdown of the structure_©

The unit is built for a single-family unit and has a single entrance along with multiple levels that are connected via a wooden staircase tat makes the housing unit quite cozy and comfortable.

Naga Housing, Nagaland

A tribal housing in Nagaland that engages directly with the local environment is still predominant in the eastern side of India, Nagaland. Mainly made out of wood, bamboo, and thatch, materials that are commonly available and present in abundance in the green forests. A huge advantage is that the materials are bad conductors of the head making sure the interiors are kept quite warm and comfortable.

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The roofs are made up of multiple layers of thatch that are present in a sloping form well adorned with bamboo and grass. The sloping shape helps wash away the rain and keeps the dirt at bay. The house has a single entrance with no windows present.

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Naga house_©

The area also belongs to a highly seismic zone and the bamboo and thatch help keep the structure strong and sturdy. Each housing unit has a unique blend of culture and tradition added to it to personalize the unit.

Nalluketu, Kerala

Coming to the southernmost part of India, the land of god, Kerala houses a beautiful traditional style of architecture called the nalluketu house that is present in most of the rural and partly urban parts of the state. The home has a rectangular plan that is quite spacious and built on only one single level or more

Nallketu house_©

It is typically made using materials that are quite easily and readily available and can sustain the weather of Kerala. Local materials like wood from jackfruit trees to red bricks and mud are a few components that make up this beautiful unit. Wood is also used for the intricate carvings and detailing in the interiors to give a unique and rustic look. Clay tiles are used in the roof to ensure that the interiors remain quite cool and these are supported by structural elements like wooden beams that help with the longevity of the structure. To provide adequate ventilation, gable windows are used at the top while also allowing sufficient sunlight in the interior parts and making sure the space remains quite well-ventilated and well-lit.

Image 8_Roof of the unit_©

The bonus point being all of the structures are Vaastu compliant making them a beautiful amalgamation of science and arts.

Throughout India we have structures that cater to the climate and context of each and every region , our main goal as architects must be to make sure that we preserve and conserve these structures and not to forget learn to build more environmentally sensitized structures together.



An aspiring Architecture student.