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ARCHITECTURE OF KERALA

GEOGRAPHICAL AND CLIMATIC ASPECTS


KERALA IS A NARROW STRIP OF LAND LYING IN BETWEEN WESTERN SEABOARD OF PENINSULAR INDIA AND CONFINED BETWEEN THE TOWERING WESTERN GHATS AND ARABIAN SEA. FAVOURED BY PLENTIFUL RAINS AND BRIGHT SUNSHINE. THE UNEVEN TERRAIN OF THIS REGION HUMAN HABITATION IS DISTRIBUTED THICKLY IN THE FERTILE LOW-LANDS AND SPARSELY TOWARDS HOSTILE HIGHLANDS. REGION HAS ARCHITECTURE OF A HUMBLE SCALE,MERGING WITH NATURE. BUILDINGS WITH LOW WALLS,SLOPING ROOF AND PROJECTING EAVES WAS MOSTLY EVOLVED FROM CLIMATIC CONSIDERATIONS-FOR PROTETION FROM EXCESSIVE RAIN AND INTENSE SOLAR RADIATION.

Materials
LATERITE IS THE MOST ABUNDANT STONE FOUND IN KERALA.
TIMBER IS THE PRIME STRUCTURAL MATERIAL ABUNDANTLY AVAILABLE IN MANY VARITIES IN KERALA. CLAY WAS USED IN MANY FORMS FOR WALLING,IN FILLING THE TIMBER FLOORS AND MAKING BRICKS AND TILES. PALM LEAVES WERE USED FOR TATCHING THE ROOFS AND FOR

MAKING PARTITION WALLS.


ROOF STRUCTURES IN TIMBER WERE COVERED WITH PALM LEAVES AND RARELY WITH TILES FOR TEMPLES AND PALACES STONE WORK WERE RESTRICTED TO PLINTH EVEN IN IMPORTANT BUILDINGS . LIME MORTAR IS USED FOR PLASTERING.

BASIC NEED FOR VASTU


THE INFLUENCE OF FIVE ELEMENTS, EARTH, WATER, AIR, LIGHT AND SPACE, IS GREAT ON HUMAN LIFE. SIMILARLY THEY ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT IN HOUSE CONSTRUCTION. THE VASTU SASTRA TELLS THE CRITERIA IN SELECTING A PLOT OF LAND, THE COMFORTS AND CONNIVANCES TO BE INCORPORATED IN THE PLAN AND WHAT CARE TO BE TAKEN AND WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED FOR COMFORTABLE AND PEACEFUL LIVING.

THE SHAPE OF THE PLOT, THE NATURE OF THE SOIL, INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONS, FLOW DIRECTION OF WATER, AREA OF THE HOUSE, CONSTRUCTION OF ROOMS FOR HEALTHY AND PEACEFUL LIVING, FIXING UP THE FOUR DIRECTIONS TO THE HOUSE,
THE BEAUTY OF THE HOUSE AS WELL THE RETENTION OF THE BEAUTY OF THE HOUSES IN THE ROW, THE MAIN ENTRANCE, MAIN GATE OF THE COMPOUND WALL ETC., ARE THE IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT ARE GUIDED BY VASTU PRINCIPLES. IT ALSO SAYS THE FAVOURABLE DIRECTIONS OF THE HOUSE FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

ASPECTS OF VASTU
AN AUSPICIOUS PLOT IS SQUARE IN SHAPE BRAHMASTHALAM IS KNOWN TO BE THE HEART OF EVERY BUILDING i. ii. SITE OF THE SANCTUARY FOR TEMPLES IN HOUSE IT MUST BE LEFT OPEN AND SHOULD COINCIDE WITH THE COURTYARD VASTHUPURUSHAS HEAD WILL BE TO THE N.E AND FEET TO S.W CONSTRUCTION MUST START AT THE FOOT END ie THE WEST CORNER OF THE HOUSE EIGHT TYPE OF DWELLING ARE LISTED EACH SUITABLE FOR CERTAIN CAST.
i. ii. iii. iv. EKASALA DWISALA TRISALA CATUSSALA

EACH PLOT CONTAIN A DEVINE SPIRIT VASTHUPURUSHA

NALUKETTU
DINING COURTYARD ROOM ROOM

S T O R E / R O O M

RELEG -IOUS RITES

COURT YARD

RECEPTION

ROOM

NALUKETTU
THE NALUKETTU IS THE TRADITIONAL STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE OF KERALA, WHEREIN A HOUSE HAS A QUADRANGLE IN THE CENTRE. NALUKETTU IS EVIDENT IN THE TRADITIONAL HOMES OF THE UPPER CLASS HOMESTEAD WHERE CUSTOMS AND RITUALS WERE A PART OF LIFE. THE MAIN BUILDING ITSELF CONSIST OF 4 WINGS AROUND THE COURTYARD. IN SOME CASES IT MAY HAVE 8,12,16,24,32 ETC WINGS

Priciples Of The Design


THE TRADITIONAL 'NALUKETTU', BARRING THE FOUNDATION AND FLOOR IS MADE OF CARVED AND SLOTTED WOOD AND HAS A CLOSE RESEMBLANCE TO EAST ASIAN GABLED AND THATCHED STRUCTURES. IN LATER YEARS, TILES REPLACED THE COCONUT FRONDS.

THE PROTRUDING ROOFS OF THE 'SALAS' FORMED SHADY VERANDAS AND PROTECTED THE ROOMS FROM DIRECT SUNLIGHT, KEEPING THEM COOL EVEN ON THE HOTTEST OF DAYS.

THE INNER VERANDAH AROUND THE 'ANKANAMOR COURTYARD


IS OPEN.

THE OUTER VERANDAHS ALONG THE FOUR SIDES OF THE 'NALUKETTU' ARE ENCLOSED DIFFERENTLY. WHILE BOTH THE WESTERN AND EASTERN VERANDAHS ARE LEFT OPEN, THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN VERANDAHS ARE ENCLOSED OR SEMIENCLOSED.

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