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Kashmir is a seismically active area, and earthquakes big and small will
continue to occur. It is not possible to predict when and where an
earthquake will strike, nor its intensity. It is therefore hoped that this
research will be useful to engineers, architects, contractors, masons and
people who may be planning to retrofit existing houses and public
buildings to reduce their vulnerability to future earthquakes.
Winter cold is the most common natural factor governing most of Kashmir.
Thick walls of brick andstone with mud plaster provide excellent
protection against this, as does a thick mud-timber roof. The lighter,
pitched roof made of timber and CGI sheets in
combination with the attic floor also ensures livable conditions inside the
house in winter and summer. The steep pitch of the light roof permits little
of snow and prevents any water leakages.



The major factors that dictate the local architecture are (a) easy access to
good soil for brick-making, and to water and timber, (b) snow in winter,
and (c) possibility of earthquakes. As a result, walls are made mainly out
of timber and bricks, baked or unbaked.
The most common wall types are load bearing: (a) baked brick (external
wall) masonry with mud or cement mortar, with or without plaster, (b)
unbaked brick (internal wall) with mud mortar and mud plaster, or (c)
unbaked brick with baked brick veneer (external wall) masonry with mud
mortar, with or without plaster, or (d) Dhajji timber framed
constructions with infill of baked brick in cement mortar or unbaked brick
masonry in mud mortar, both 4" thick with timber frame. Many structures
which are typically single- and double-storey have Dhajji walls in the
upper storey and the gables.
Roofs slope steeply in two directions. Although planks or shingles of
hardwood like Deodar were formerly the main roofing materials, today
CGI sheets on timber supports have become the most common type of



The urban areas of the Valley have architecture that is distinct from all
other areas. The main factor determining this architecture is the high
density of development. This calls for vertical growth, resulting into three
to four-storey structures. The two most common walling systems
observed are (i) Dhajji type, with timber frame and infill consisting of
baked or unbaked bricks, and (ii) Taaq type, consisting of brick masonry
interlaced with heavy timber bands supported on large masonry piers
made of baked bricks.
The timber frames in the Dhajji walls are generally well laid out with a
system of diagonal
bracings that provide a distinct path to the ground for the stresses caused
by lateral seismic forces. In addition, the walls are lightweight and hence
have less mass and less lateral seismic loads. Thus this type of wall is
able to withstand ground settlement and
major earthquakes without suffering much damage. The Taaq type of
construction has a large number of windows (Taaq means window), one
in each gap between the piers.
The roofs are two- and four-sided pitched. The wood shingle roofing that
was once used
in most structures has been replaced by the CGI sheeting on account of
economics and availability.


As we know that the Kashmir can undertook earthquake at any time . So
we use vernacular architecture in Kashmir. Vernacular architecture is a
category of architecture based on local needs and construction materials,
and reflecting local traditions.
It tends to evolve over time to reflect
the environmental, cultural, technological, and historical context in which
it exists. While often not thoroughly and academically planned, this kind
of architecture played and still plays a major role in the history
of architecture and design, especially in local branches.
Vernacular architecture can be contrasted against polite
architecture which is characterised by stylistic elements of design
intentionally incorporated for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a
building's functional requirements.
Vernacular construction in response to climate of the regions whether its
a house in Rajasthan meant to cope the hot summer sun, Mangalorian

roof to cope the heavy rainfall, the light weight Assamese house (ekra
walls) to cope the earthquakes or the santhal villages of Bengal.
Vernacular architecture aims at comfort using natural and local materials
and architecture.
Dhajji Frame construction and Taq construction are fine examples of
vernacular architecture to climate response in Hill architecture. Factors
that govern the popularity of construction of Dhajji and Taq construction
are: effective response to extreme cold strong winds or high earthquake
zone, Limited availability of top soil, easy maintenance by common
persons, economics in relation to
peoples spending capacity.
Dhajji timber framed construction is
with baked brick infill in cement
mortar and unbaked brick masonry
in mud mortar both in 4 thick
timber frame work.
These structures are typically single
or double storey. Dhajji dewari
construction is not unique to
Kashmir alone but was also found in Lisbon as Gaiola frame after the 1755
earthquakes also known as Half timber in Britain and Fach work in
Germany. Dhajji gets its name from quilting which is produced from
reused scrap and small pieces of cloth, thereby making it sustainable and
vernacular. The ability of disparate materials each of relatively low
strength to work together as a single system. Dhajji diwari is a variation of
timber and masonry construction.
Taq timber construction a combination of wood
and unreinforced masonry laid on weak mortar
gives the building the required flexibility and
uses traditional architecture and material. Taq
construction is a bearing wall masonry
construction with horizontal timber lacing
embedded in the masonry; it is usually
configured with a modular layout of masonry
piers and window bays tied together with ladder
like construction of horizontal timber embedded
in the masonry at each floor level.

These horizontal ladder bands are

located at the base of the structure
to the modular layout of the piers
and window bays, i.e. a five-taq
house is five bays wide. The
masonry above the foundation (das
or dassa), and at each floor level
and at the window lintel level Taq
refers piers (tshun) are almost
always 1-2 feet (45-60 cm) square, and the bays are approximately 3-4
feet (90-120cm) in width. Because this modular pier and bay design and
the timber-laced load-bearing masonry pier and wall system go together,
the name has come to identify the structural

Taqsystem does not consist of complete frames instead has larger timber
runners resting along the load bearing masonry walls with floor beams
and runners from the cross walls lapping over them.
The construction practices used for these buildings, which stand in
contrast to today's codes and accepted practices, include (1) the use of
mortar of negligible strength, (2) the lack of any bonding between the
infill walls and the piers, (3) the weakness of the bond between the
commonly-accepted wythes of the masonry in the walls, and (4) the
frequent use of heavy sods.