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Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

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Building and Environment

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Understanding the climate sensitive architecture of Marikal, a village in Telangana

region in Andhra Pradesh, India
Madhavi Indraganti*
Climarc, 6-3-581, B-203, Keshav Dale Apartments, Khairatabad, Hyderabad 500 004, India

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Architecture and climate are engaged in a happy marriage in any indigenously developed settlement. We
Received 6 April 2010 documented and analysed a vernacular settlement, Marikal in composite climatic region of A.P., as part of
Received in revised form a large development project. Marikals form and structure are a result of centuries of evolutionary
30 May 2010
process and knowledge transfer, reecting a set of varying physical and nonphysical determinant forces
Accepted 31 May 2010
such as climate and geology, religion, socio-cultural values, economics, technology and administrative
factors. It is a closely knit fabric of small clusters of dwellings comprising of thick white walls, heavy
roofs, small windows and narrow streets. Many house typologies are identied. The house plans
Vernacular architecture
Bioclimatic design
essentially vary in size, shape and detailing, but not in their climate sensitivity. They are in great harmony
Sustainability with the occupation/activities of the occupant. The occupants adaptively synchronize their activities with
Architecture of Telangana the spatial environmental qualities of the space.
Hot-dry season However, the house form of Marikal is transforming due to social forces and the availability of electric
Marikal controls in the recent decades. Once highly climate sensitive architecture and behavioural patterns are
slowly getting metamorphosed into architecture and attitudes that are irreverent to climate and context.
This study calls for a code of practice balancing modernization with the vernacular.
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction energy concerns from all around the world [6], and the alarming
increase in air conditioning usage in the recent years [7].
Traditionally, our buildings are regarded as our third skin, Building energy consumption in India is the highest among all
clothing the second, while the biological skin is considered the rst. Asia Pacic Partnership countries [8]. With lax bye laws and
These three skins help us maintain the deep body temperature at growing pressure from various interest groups, more and more
around 37  C round the year in any geographical area. In the buildings in India are being designed in aluminum and glass, only
absence of precise temperature control measures, the role of the to be air conditioned, least concerning about the climate or context.
settlement/building design in mitigating the vagaries of wind and As a result, the buildings relinquish all their local character and
weather is extremely important in providing indoor comfort [1,2]. wear the same skin be it in the desert of Rajasthan or in the hills of
As a result architecture and climate are found to be engaged in Himalayas.
a happy marriage in any indigenously developed settlement. On the other hand, the traditional houses of Telangana region are
Understanding of the traditional architecture in terms of heat- typical examples of buildings adapted to the composite climate. The
humidity, air movement and light with respect to the physical aim of this paper is to evaluate the vernacular settlement of Marikal,
environment provides vital lessons for the present design in terms of its architectural typology and climate appropriateness of
endeavours. The familiar elements of regional architectural styles various features of the building and the settlement. This paper
(verandahs, balconies, courtyards, shutters and such) are created to shows how a building environment working like living organism,
use the sun for warmth and light and to create shade and breeze for which is inherently sustainable through the use of various biocli-
cooling. Climatic design lessons can be learned and inspiration can matic concepts applied in its original construction, is tightly inte-
be sought by observation of the long tradition of vernacular grated with the living styles, landscape and has a little wastage of
architecture [3e5]. These are important especially in the context of resources. The following analysis is comprised of two major parts: 1)
a study concerning the evolution of the built environment
(morphological development, site planning, cluster planning,
* Tel.: 91 4023305233; mobile: 9198666 76586, 966558115039. construction materials and techniques); and 2) typological analysis
E-mail address: maindraganti@gmail.com. of specic vernacular dwelling types and their response to climate,

0360-1323/$ e see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2710 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

based on passive design principles that are responsible for the discomfort being April to May, as the Humphreys comfort
bioclimatic character of the settlement. The evaluation of the temperature [10] (Tc)1 exceeds the outdoor mean temperature (To)
settlement and houses is carried out keeping in mind the environ- substantially (Fig. 2). Protection from conductive and radiant heat
mental elements such as heat, humidity, air movement and light and gain is thus necessary to avoid physiological discomfort in summer.
the general activity pattern of the residents. Observable, the structure and built form of Marikal aptly respond to
this hot-dry season.
2. Marikal: a vernacular settlement in Telangana In the other months, especially in June and in winter, physio-
region in A.P. logical discomfort is mitigated through clothing/activity adjust-
ments and increased ventilation through the use of various
2.1. Location and history controls. Monsoon months are usually warm-humid (To 27.5  C,
mean RH 72.4%), with a mean monthly rainfall of 150 mm
Marikal (N16 360 and E77 440 ), a small village in Telangana received from the southwest monsoon. Physiological discomfort
region is in the south-western part of Ranga Reddy district in the due to heat is not a major problem in this season as the temperature
state of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) in India (Fig. 1a and b). It is about is below the skin temperature. This period is followed by north-
120 km south-west of Hyderabad, the state capital and is 22 km west monsoon which receives very light spells. Winters are salu-
from Mahboobnagar, a large town close by. It is located at about brious although with moderate to low humidity.
5 km from Ananta Sagar a large dry land reserve forest.
Anecdotal responses collected from the village elders of the 2.4. Evaluation using Mahoneys tables e recommendations
Royal clan during the survey revealed that, Marikal has about 600
years of history. Both Muslim and Hindu feudal lords ruled Marikal The climatic data are analysed using the Mahoney tables which
till the abolition of privy purses. Remnants of the past can be traced provide preliminary design recommendations. They are grouped
in the walls of the mud fort at the center of the village and in the under eight headings: layout, spacing, air movement, openings,
temples and Dargahs in its vicinity. The village has agriculture, walls, roofs, outdoor sleeping and rain protection [11]. Recom-
aqua-culture and petty vending supporting its basic economy. It has mended specications for Marikal are as under: 1) Layout: buil-
over 2000 population (as per Census 2001) spread over an area of dings oriented on North and South (long axis east-west) to reduce
0.2 km2 of gently sloping terrain. It is not connected to any railway sun exposure, with compact courtyard planning; 2) Spacing:
line or major highways. As it is an interior village, the original compact planning with protection from hot and cold wind; 3) Air
character of the village is less disturbed by urbanization or overt movement: rooms double-banked with temporary means for air
commercialization of land. movement; 4) Openings: very small openings, 10e20% of wall area;
5) Walls: heavy external and internal walls; 6) Roofs: heavy roofs
2.2. Data collection over 8 h time lag; 7) Outdoor sleeping: space for outdoor sleeping
required; 8) Rain protection: rain protection not required.
The present analysis is based on the data collected during Intriguing, the present settlement is found to be in complete
a development study conducted by the author in this village during agreement with Mahoneys recommendations in all these aspects
2006e2008. This study involved in depth data collection at various mentioned above. A detailed analysis of its climate appropriateness
levels. The collected data is the outcome of an exhaustive house- is presented below.
hold survey and eld work of the author, assisted by a team of
students of architecture. We have measured, sketched, observed, 3. Climate appropriateness of the settlement
photographed, video-graphed buildings and interviewed inhabi-
tants, local designers as well as public ofcers concerned with the 3.1. Landform and topography
village. In addition, we commissioned a professional surveyor to
prepare the detailed village plan, as the village level detailed maps Marikal is surrounded by about 15 natural lakes within a radius
are not available with the government. However, the large scale of 3 km, all interconnected through natural ow of gravity. As this is
topo-sheets of the region are procured from the Survey of India. a dry region with a little rainfall, the water table is usually very low
This study is presented in the form of a documentary lm [9], as and the lakes are the prime source of water for human habitation,
part of the large development project. agriculture and aqua-culture. The early settlers exploited the
contour and slope of the landform to the fullest [2]. They estab-
2.3. Climatic data lished the village fort and the surrounding settlement at the center
of a shallow bowl shaped trough, formed by the local topography. It
The Meteorological Department provided the climatic data of is interesting to note that the lake next to the fort is at the lowest
Mahboobnagar, as it is the nearest meteorological recording station contour, enabling it to retain water even during prolonged droughts
to Marikal. It has inland composite climate with four distinct (see Fig. 3). Sadly, most of the lakes have dried now, excepting three
seasons: Winter, summer monsoon and post monsoon. This region large ones, due to poor maintenance.
has hot-arid summers and slightly cool winters, and moderate to Establishing the village at the bottom of a shallow trough has
light rainfall (Fig. 2). Air temperature reaches a mean maximum of other advantages in addition to having the highest water table for
40  C and a mean minimum of 27  C in May with a very high the village inhabitants even in summer. As the country side is
diurnal range (12e15 K). The summer months have an average barren, summer breezes are usually hot and add to the discomfort.
temperature of 31.3  C, while the winter months have 25.3  C. The Understandable, the settlement, thus developed at the bottom of
annual mean temperature is about 27.6  C and the relative the shallow valley retains the cold mass of air and remains pro-
humidity varies from 29% to 83%, while the rainfall totals 810 mm tected from hot breezes. The village has a gently sloping terrain,
in a year. towards lakes in the south-east and has huge masses of natural rock
out crop towards the north-west (at a distance of 2 km).
2.3.1. Physiological objectives
Summer in Marikal is usually hot and dry (mean temperature
(To) 31.3  C, mean RH 39.3%), with the period of greatest 1
Tc 0.514 To 13.5.
M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722 2711

Fig. 1. (a): India map showing the ve climatic zones (Source: the National Building Code, 2005); (b): Political map of the State of Andhra Pradesh, indicating Marikal in Ranga
Reddy district (a red dot in the box). (For interpretation of the references to colour in this gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
2712 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

Fig. 2. The climate chart of Marikal showing the summary of outdoor environmental data recorded during 2007e2008, indicating the four seasons, and the Humphreys comfort
temperature. (Basic source: The Meteorological Department, India).

3.2. Morphological development As shown in Fig. 4 e Phase-I, fort in the center was rst estab-
lished in close proximity to a lake, which is now dry and defunct.
The morphological development of the settlement is under- The houses adjacent to the fort are occupied by either the ruling
stood to have taken place in about four stages based on the data class or by the people serving the ruling class. These are mostly
provided by the families living around the fort for many genera- Lingayats, Brahmins, potters, carpenters and weavers houses. The
tions and other visual observations of the author. fort street has become a prominent bazaar street in the second
The village has developed along the Bazaar Street and slowly phase and many shop houses of the merchant class, Reddy and
spreaded in the south-west direction as the bus route to Mah- other communities evolved along the fort street. It is interesting to
boobnagar town was laid. The built form evolved perfectly note that the Bazaar street still holds a weekly street fair (santa)
responding to the elements of climate and other functional every Tuesday, which is a major economic activity in the village [9].
requirements. The older buildings are compact and are relatively Like many other natural settlements, the growth started around
smaller compared to their recent counterparts. the fort and spread linearly along the main Bazaar Street. With the

Fig. 3. The topography sheet of Marikal and the surrounding area showing the interconnected lakes (contour interval: 5 m; lakes are marked in blue). The terrain gently slopes
towards the village from all sides, forming a shallow trough while enabling higher ground water table and protection from hot breezes. (Source for the map: The Survey of India).
(For interpretation of the references to colour in this gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722 2713

Fig. 4. Morphological development of Marikal: the settlement spreading around the fort and the Bazaar Street in I and II phases and along the second main road in III and IV phases.

introduction of the motorable road connecting Mahboobnagar As a result, the sky view factor is also maintained low, which is
town, the second main road has come into prominence, while highly benecial in hot-dry weather, also as observed by others
densication of the village interior continued. [2,13] and it may limit the long wave loss at night. However, high
Modern structures have begun to appear along the road, with diurnal ranges (w15 K) usually observed in summer accelerate
a lot of commercial activity spilling on to the road. In the recent conductive and convective heat loss from the building at night and
decades, new housing colonies for the weaker sections are deve- compensate for the slow long wave loss due to lower sky factor.
loped along the second main road as seen in the fourth phase. As
south-west part of the village has mainly un-irrigated dry lands, the 3.4. Cluster planning
village expansion is found to be taking place in this direction. The
fort wall and one Burj (sentry post) of the fort now exist and are in The cluster open space is regarded as a vital design element in
ruins. Fig. 5 presents the architectural character of the settlement, achieving occupant comfort in Marikal. Simple residential clus-
the site plan and a panoramic view of the remnants of the fort in ters formed by inward looking houses are found here, which are
a snap shot [12]. sometimes enclosed too. These are enclosed by high compound
walls (1.5e3.7 m high) in mud or brick construction, with
3.3. Form and site planning of the settlement a double shuttered door and a tiled sunshade laid over stone
Dense clusters of small and compact tenements congured The central cluster open space is also used for night time
organically along the narrow streets and alleys form a major part of sleeping and for day time resting when shaded. The mud oor
the settlement. As explained in Section 2.3.1, protection from dry surface of the cluster open space is usually treated in cow-dung, to
summer is found to be the primordial consideration in the deve- avoid overheating and glare due to the ground reection. More
lopment of form and the site planning of Marikal. It has developed importantly, this nish cools faster, and enables better utilization of
in response to sun, orientation, air movement and topography as the space during the day, after the sun moves away, especially
a tightly knit fabric of small housing clusters. Fascinating, the when people walk barefoot, or sit on the ground performing
structural form of the settlement is similar to the settlements in various activities. Rijal et al. [14] also observed lower surface
other hot-dry areas as observed by Koenigsberger et al. [11], Ratti temperatures and found better performance in mud oors.
et al. [13], and Saleh [2]. The size and organisation of a dwelling unit around the cluster
The villagers showed immense ingenuity in laying the streets. open space varied signicantly depending on the socio-economic
None of the streets in the older settlement are along the EeW axis, class of the occupant. For example, in clusters belonging to the
except a few done in the recent times. The streets are laid along the upper classes the houses are much larger (Fig. 6) compared to the
NWeSE and NEeSW directions, while most of the buildings have lower classes (Fig. 7). However, in lower class houses, many acti-
their longer axes facing the north. vities like sitting, bathing, cooking, etc. also spill into the common
As Marikal is a dry area with very little green cover and poor cluster open space.
monsoon, shading of horizontal surface of the streets is essential for The central open space is utilised for various outdoor activities
avoiding discomfort glare, ground reection and heat gain, to enable depending on the occupation of the household. For example: in
easy movement of people, walking barefoot sometimes [13]. Nar- shermens cluster (Fig. 7), the cluster open space used for
rower streets also reduce the daylight component from direct solar repairing the shing nets, while in farming communities, it is also
radiation in the streets and building interiors, which is quite high. used for drying the farm produce, etc.
2714 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

Fig. 5. (A) Bazaar Street. (B) Fishermens cluster. (C) A typical shop house. (D) Cluster of the lower economic class. (E) Typical Brahmin and weavers cluster. (F) Remnants of the fort
wall located in the center of the village. (G) Site plan of Marikal.

More importantly, the cluster open space is shared and main- Interestingly, the cultural practice of sprinkling water in the
tained commonly by all the households of the cluster. It is also used open spaces every morning also enhances the thermal comfort of
for performing marriages. Interestingly, in the shop-house clusters the outdoors. Narrow streets also protect the semi outdoor
around the fort area, the open space faces the Bazaar Street, spaces from hot breezes. In addition, they also trap the cool mass
enabling the shops to spread the merchandise into the open space of air within them. As it is a dry climate, enhanced air movement
during the weekly fair. As a result, the bazaars have naturally in summer, only causes physiological discomfort and convective
emerged along the well treaded path, comprising of the shop heat gain.
houses, and other multi storied houses, while retaining the original Small internal courtyards are found in a few large dwellings.
character of a rural habitat. Their size is very small compared to the building height,
The clusters thus formed by the very organisation of these providing ample diffused daylight into the interior. These are
tenements are found to be at human scale resonating the feeling of used primarily for outdoor activities like scullery, sitting, clean-
the neighbourhood. Children play here in safety, while women and ing pulses, sh-net repair, yarn dyeing, timber craft, etc.,
men engage themselves in active interaction. As shown in Fig. 6, requiring shaded work space with ample daylight. Therefore,
enclosed/semi enclosed courtyards and smaller clusters organized these are mostly found in shermens, weavers and carpenters
themselves organically to form large clusters, forming a hierarchy houses. These spaces are also used for drying of pulses, clothes
of open spaces from private to semi-public to public open space. and storage of water. Trees or other plant material is seldom
found in these internal courtyards, and are often paved in stone
3.5. Streets, alleys and courtyards to accommodate the activities mentioned above.

Most of the semi-public open spaces and alleys are always 3.6. Construction methods and materials
shaded. This offered the closely knit structures good protection
from direct solar radiation, which is substantial in the absence of Hard building stone like granite (k-value 2.92 W/m K) slate
cloud cover, through mutual shading. The alleys between the (k-value 1.53 W/m K), hard bricks (k-value 1.47 W/m K) and
buildings are quite narrow (w900 mm) and are usually treated in timber are available aplenty in and around the settlement. As
cow-dung (Fig. 8). The streets connecting the clusters in the older a result, locally available materials and construction methods are
settlement are also narrow (w3e4.5 m). Major streets are used in all the buildings. However, due to the migration of
developed along the NWeSE direction following the natural Vaddera the local stone cutter community, stone walls and roofs
slope of the terrain. This allowed natural gravity ow in the open are being replaced by brick and tiles/concrete for the last 10
street sewers. years. Lime and mud are used as binding material in stone and
M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722 2715

Fig. 6. Typical large cluster formed out of the enclosed courtyard houses/clusters occupied by Brahmins off the Bazaar Street.

brick masonry. In the recent years cement is mostly used. Mud entire ground oor while brick/mud is used in the upper part of the
mixed with some local water proong admixtures (jaggery and wall or in the upper oor. Although the sub soil is hard, this practice
karakkai, a small nut) is also used extensively in walls, roofs and offered extra protection from subsidence.
for ooring as well. Mud walls are usually built in courses 450 mm high. Local mud
Most of the houses are single storied constructions with an is thoroughly mixed with water and straw, kneaded and is usually
oblong built form having an aspect ratio of 1:1.5 or more and tiled reinforced with reeds. Granite posts (100  100 mm) are also used
roofs with gentle slope. Interesting, all the houses have low plinths in between (at 1500 mm c/c), for lateral strengthening of the wall.
(200e400 mm), to offer protection from the hot breezes blowing Mud walls are usually nished ne and are typically white
from the hot exterior and bright daylight (Fig. 8B) in addition to washed.
limit the heat gain. Assumable, protection from rain water pene- Stone lintels (slate) over the ventilators, windows and doors are
tration was not found to be important, as the rainfall is low and the usually provided. The sunshades are either very small or are
street/sewers are laid along the slope of the terrain. Interesting, completely avoided sometimes. On the other hand, a small tin sheet
the roofs do not feature any eaves gutters to collect rain water from awing is xed to the wall to cover the window, or alternately, the
the roofs. slate lintel extended a little beyond the wall forming a sunshade.
Most of the doors have sunshades in tiles with mud inll xed to
3.6.1. Walls and roofs a wooden bracket, which are sometimes decorated. Provision of
The requirement of high thermal mass to maintain higher time wider sunshades to openings is not found necessary as (1) the
lag to provide capacitative insulation was well understood by the window sill height is high, (2) shading is provided by the building
local builders. Therefore, the walls and roofs are very thick, mostly opposite (3) the windows are very small xed to thick walls, leaving
in stone, brick or in mud and slates or tiles respectively. deep reveals (4) and the rainfall is low.
Houses of the well-to-do are in dressed stone masonry Mezzanine oors in large dwellings are built as wooden joisted
(450e600 mm thick) while the houses of the middle class are built oors and are usually boarded in local timber. Upper oors in large
in brick/mud walls, sometimes reinforced with reed (Fig. 11). The houses are built in Madras Terrace (at terracotta tile and lime
walls in the houses of the poorer communities and temporary ooring over wooden joisted oor). The timber for joists varied
enclosures for bathing are sometimes built in reed. Stone is also from ne teak wood to local country wood. Staircases are usually in
used in the bottom courses (up to about 600 mm high) or in the stone/brick masonry.
2716 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

Fig. 7. Fishermens cluster formed by a veranda house, single and double roomed tenements. Smaller enclosed semi-private open spaces spilling into much larger central court
forming a hierarchy of open spaces.

The wall interiors are mostly plastered in mortar (mud/lime) partition walls, which are either in mud or brick. Ground oors
and are lime washed. This improved the internally reected are usually covered in rough nished slate slabs, as slate is
component of the room giving soft tonal differences of light in easily procured from quarries nearby (for example: quarry at
the interior. The upper oors usually have very few internal Shahbad).

Fig. 8. Hierarchy of networks. (A) Major village arterial road. (B) Partially shaded sub-arterial roads passing through/joining the clusters. (C) Fully shaded narrow alleys connecting
dwellings and clusters.
M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722 2717

Fig. 9. Wall construction. (A) Double storied house gadde built in stone with very few openings. (B) Mud wall construction in tiers of 450 mm height. (C) Brick walls in mud mortar
with alternating stretcher and header courses and brick on edge course at the top and bottom of the wall adding lateral resistance. (D) Courses of stone masonry at the bottom of the
brick wall in mud mortar. (E) Remnants of the fort wall (900 mm thick) in mud mortar. (F) Lime plastered stone walled house, white washed.

The roofs are most often single pitched (slope <30 ), supported a few houses, overlapping layers of slate is also used for roong. Stone
on wooden trusses and rafters. The gable walls are plain and often slabs are laid to a very gentle slope on wooden purlins and battens.
have a small ventilator near the ridge. Many varieties of local As the peak hourly rainfall is very low (w28e40 mm/h) and the
timbers are used for roof trusses, which are built by the local rainy days are very few (w15 days in the peak monsoon month),
carpenter community. Thick stone wall-plates received the roof lower roof slopes are found to be giving adequate protection from
trusses, which are often supported on the courses of brick on edge rain. The triangular space of the roof is sometimes used for storage,
(Fig. 9c). These brick on edge courses, through spring action, without any nely nished false ceiling. Therefore, higher volume
provided resistance against lateral thrust, often found in walls of air is available for circulation, while hot air is accumulated near
supporting the sloped roofs. They are also provided at the bottom of the ceiling and exited from the ventilators provided at a much
the walls for a similar function. higher level than the occupants body level.
In order to increase the heat capacity of the roof, tiled roofs are On the other hand, at roofs often have small orices and
always provided with mud in lls (w200 mm thick) laid over reed openings (w600  600 mm maximum) to facilitate hot air exit
matting, which is xed to the wooden purlins (Fig. 12A and B). In (Fig. 10 D,E, and H). These are found to be adaptively closed with

Fig. 10. (A) View of the roof. (B) Sectional details of the roof: (1) overlapping pot tiles laid to slope, (2) mud mortar inll, (3) reed mat batting on the battens xed to wooden rafters
forming the soft, (4) tie beam of the country wood roong truss, (5) stone wall plate at the soft of the eaves, (6) supporting brick/stone wall. (C) Reed and thatch wall and roong
used in the houses of the poor. (D, E) Small orices/roof lights, in the at roof to allow hot air exit, often covered during the day. (F) Stone roof over wooden rafters. (G) Country
wood truss. (H) Madras Terrace in teak wood joists and boarding having a metal grilled sky light, used in the houses of the afuent. (I) Slate roong over wooden roof trusses.
2718 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

a thick stone slab during the day when the outside is hotter than the door shutter leaves are of detachable type, to enable easy
the interior in summer. As propounded by Nicol [15], passive movement of customers and goods. Larger windows are most
buildings need active participants to maintain comfortable condi- often xed to the compound walls of the courtyards to facilitate
tions inside. air movement (Fig. 11).
The external and internal walls are all predominantly white
3.6.2. Openings, colour and texture washed. Importantly, the users have painted the street side walls
The nature of the openings in Marikal purely emanated from the white, while leaving the walls facing the narrower alleys unpainted
climatological requirement. Windows are either very small or are when high expenditure on painting is not permissible (Fig. 11A).
completely absent in some of the smaller houses. Small ventilators Painting the walls white reduces the radiant heat gain signicantly.
high on the gable wall are provided instead (Fig. 11A). They provide To provide for the necessary visual relief, more so in the absence of
externally and internally reected, diffused daylight to the interior. green plant material, the doors and windows are usually painted in
The metal grills or RCC jalis tted to the ventilators eliminated most bright colours. As the windows are very small, painting the inte-
of the bright externally reected light. riors white, allowed good internal reection and resulted in higher
The window size varied from 0.09 to 0.54 m2. This offered levels of indoor illumination. Ceiling softs are seldom treated and
immense protection from the radiant heat gain, hot air drafts, and are left bare.
painful glare. Thus, most of the light in the indoors is soft internally
reected and diffused light. 4. Typologies of houses
The deep reveals of the windows are splayed as shown in
Fig. 11C, to provide contrast grading [[11], pp. 145]. This eliminates The dwelling units are analysed based on the aspects of layout,
strong luminance contrast between the view and the window plan conguration, occupants sociological classication vis--vis
surround. In addition, splayed sills also reect the light rays to the activity, construction materials used, etc. The analysis is presented
wall opposite, adding richly to the internally reected component. in Table 1. Marikal has a highly evolved vernacular architectural
It is important to note that the softs of the ceilings are retained in style in its plan form and structure, making use of the locally
the natural colour of timber and are not painted white. Sometimes available material and craftsmanship.
they are very dark owing to greying of timber. The house plans essentially varied in quality of detailing but not
The fundamental function of a window is to provide natural in fundamental functioning of the building. A single room house of
ventilation, light and views depending on the activity being per- a lower class family gently transforms itself in to a six room
formed inside the room. Most of the dwelling units in Marikal are bungalow of a Reddy or Lingayat family, without compromising on
used for storage, cooking and sleeping. Sometimes the occupants also any of its basic functional or climatological essentials, like small
cooked in the open yard outside the house. As a result, the activities openings, courtyards, low plinths, thick shutters, shaded open/semi-
requiring ample daylight take place in the shaded part of the exterior, outdoor spaces, light wells/roof lights, etc. as shown in Table 1.
for example: on the gatchu (a sitting platform) outside the house. The plan form was found to be in great harmony with the
Fascinating, some of the interior rooms (kitchens and sleeping occupation/activities of the occupant. For example, the weavers
rooms) are also provided with operable sky-lights for higher illumi- houses are found to have a long hall (w15 m long), overlooking
nation. These are closed with a stone slab adaptively by the occupants, onto a small indoor court to accommodate the hand loom and
during the overheated part of the day (Figs. 10D, E, and H and 11D). weaving of two saris at once. This space is devoid of any external
Heavy double leaved wooden ledged battened doors openings as they would permit dust. However, the indoor courts
(1050  2100 mm or smaller) with decorated jambs are usually maintain the high illumination levels without sharp contrasts,
used as main entrance doors in Marikal. These are usually painted necessary for precision weaving. Unfortunately, the weavers
in blue or green or ochre. Similar doors are also used in the community has migrated completely a few generations earlier, due
compound walls of the cluster enclosures as well (Fig. 11F). to the dwindling local patronage.
Interestingly, thick panels (25e35 mm thick) formed the door Houses of the upper caste families are two storied, larger
shutters, protecting from convective heat gain. In the shop houses, tenements facing the fort street. These have small internal courts

Fig. 11. Details of openings: (A) Very small or no openings. (B) Small tin sheet awnings attached. (C) Splayed sill to the window and deep reveals. (D) Sky light to light kitchen/
bedroom. (E) Door details. (F) Compound wall door.
M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722 2719

Table 1
Typologies of houses found in Marikal.

(continued on next page)

2720 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

Table 1 (continued).

Legends: L: Living; D e Dining; K e Kitchen; Ha e Hall; B e Bed room; ST e Store; SH e Shop; Toi: Ver e Verandah; Gatchu e Sitting Platform; Toilet e Toi; BA e Bath;
Co e Open Court.

Table 2
A comparative analysis of the thermal properties of traditional and modern wall and roof construction typical in Marikal, showing the traditional construction having superior
thermal properties than the latter.

Function Description of the Overall Surface conductance Thermal properties of the layers U-value Heat
cross section thickness (W/m2 K) capacity
Outdoor Indoor Layer-1 Layer-2 Layer-3
(m) (kJ/m3 K)
(W/m2 K) (W/m2 K)
L (m) k-value L (m) k-value L (m) k-value
(W/m K) (W/m K) (W/m K)
Brick wall 0.230 m Thick brick wall with 0.26 13.18 8.12 0.018 0.721 0.23 0.84 0.012 0.721 1.94 1360
(external) 0.018 m thick external and
0.012 m internal cement plaster
Mud wall 0.450 m Thick mud wall with 0.45 7.78 8.12 0.025 0.73 0.45 1.25 0.025 0.73 1.47 2050
(external) 0.025 m thick lime plaster on
both sides
External 0.600 m Thick granite stone 0.6 7.78 8.12 e e 0.6 2.92 e e 2.19 2132
masonry wall masonry wall (unplastered)
Concrete roof 0.2 m Thick concrete roof with 0.212 22.7 9.48 e e 0.2 1.274 0.012 0.721 3.09 168
0.012 m thick soft plaster
Tiled roof 0.01 m Thick tile roof 0.25 m 0.266 22.7 9.48 0.01 0.84 0.25 1.25 0.006 0.14 2.47 2050
thick over mud inll, laid over
0.006 m thick bamboo/reed
Slate roof Two layers of 0.012 m thick 0.024 22.7 9.48 0.012 1.53 0.008 0.026 0.012 1.53 2.11 2212.5
overlapping slate stone slabs
with 0.008 m thick cavity

U e value overall transmittance of the section; k-value thermal conductivity of the layer; L thickness of the layer; traditional walls are considered sheltered, while
modern walls are assumed to have normal exposure for estimating surface conductance; values in bold traditional construction.
M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722 2721

Fig. 12. Climate responsive architecture getting transformed into concrete roofed light weight buildings irreverent to local climate and context.

sometimes or roof lights to light the interior rooms. A small oblong insulation on the top, or galvanized iron sheets or asbestos sheets if
central open terrace, anked by two bed rooms on both the sides is the occupant cannot afford the former (Refer Table 2).
the most striking and important element of the upper oors. As the With the availability of ceiling fans, most of the activities, once
width is small, this space remains shaded most of the time and is being performed in the semi-outdoors, like cleaning the grain,
mainly used for many outdoor activities and sleeping at night resting, reading, etc. in the traditional houses are now being per-
(Table 1). This court also features a small metal grilled roof light to formed indoors. As a result, the window sizes are becoming much
light the interior living areas in the lower oors. larger allowing more light and radiation. Unfortunately, as Marikal
On the other hand, houses of shermen, potters, etc. (verandah is in the non-priority areas of Ranga Reddy district, electric power
houses) have small covered verandahs which are primarily used for availability is limited (5e8 h/day), more so in summer. Much as
many activities requiring ample daylight, as explained in Section expected, people living in concrete roofed houses, express higher
3.5. The shop houses on the fort area have large doors and shaded thermal discomfort.
verandahs to accommodate the selling activity. Moreover, the villagers attach a tag of higher social status and
modernity to a concrete roof house (locally called Chatt illu) than
to a tiled vernacular house, inuenced by many an imported urban
5. Behavioural adaptation imagery. Surprisingly, boys having concrete roofed houses are given
higher priority in marriages too.
Users behavioural adaptation is found to be essential for As a consequence, the local prototypes are getting replaced by
achieving thermal comfort in passive buildings [16]. The author has a modern architectural idiom, relying on the use of electrical
observed several behavioural adaptive actions the occupants have controls for comfort. The cozy clusters at human scale are getting
under taken in her many eld study visits throughout the year. metamorphosed into isolated villas as shown in Fig. 12. Once highly
Important adaptation methods observed are clothing adaptation, climate sensitive architecture and behavioural patterns are slowly
moving to a shaded outdoor area during the period of discomfort, getting transformed into architecture and attitudes that are irrev-
closing the roof lights/windows/doors, staying away from hot areas, erent to climate and customs. Similar concern is expressed by
and adaptively synchronizing the activities with the spatial environ- Upadhyay et al. [18] and Hanaoka et al. [19]. Due to the reduced
mental qualities, etc. For example, the occupants have used well lit patronage, the local roong craft is at the verge of extinction. The
semi outdoor areas for jobs that require higher illumination. They local potter community is now job-shifting to make other objects of
are found to adaptively balance the activities with the environ- higher commercial value. As a result, a dwindling supply-demand
mental characteristics of various spaces of the dwelling unit/outdoor relationship is observed. Providing thermal comfort, the primary
areas. Similar observation is also made by Rijal and Yoshida [17]. function of our third skin (the building) is thus found to be
In addition, special Pandiri (a four pillared verandah) erected in diminishing, as buildings become lighter.
the front yard, temporarily using fresh green leaves during the As we seek a ne balance between modernization and tradi-
weddings in summer is retained by the occupants even after the tional values, the success of traditional settlements holds valuable
weddings. This Pandiri formed a shaded vestibule in front of the lessons for urban designers, architects and administrators. Conti-
main door, giving the necessary thermal relief in summer. nuity of tradition needs planning, design regulations and guidelines
as well as the establishment of a code of practice to govern and
control the proper implications of immutables, regardless of
6. Present day scenario whether the technology is new or traditional [2]. Only then the new
architecture we produce remains deeply rooted in local climate,
The prototype houses mentioned in Table 1 are the outcome of context and customs.
generations of evolutionary process and indigenous knowledge
transfer. These are designed to perform well even without the use
of any electrical controls like ceiling fans, air conditioners and 7. Conclusions
heaters. However, with the availability of electricity and ceiling
fans, in the last few decades, the house form of Marikal has Architecture and climate form an inseparable bond in any
undergone rapid changes. traditional shelter form. Learning them in detail helps designers
Large thermal mass of the houses is being given a go by, to enable plan sustainable settlements in future, especially in the wake of
faster construction and to save space. The walls now are usually the present energy debate. The vernacular settlement of Marikal,
230 mm thick or slender brick walls in mud or cement mortar. The in the composite climatic zone in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra
roofs are either in RCC (150 mm thick), without any capacitative Pradesh has been studied and documented as part of a large
2722 M. Indraganti / Building and Environment 45 (2010) 2709e2722

development study. The data has been analysed keeping in mind I am grateful to Krishnachari, Narasimha Reddy and all the
the aspects of architectural typology and the climate appropri- villagers of Marikal for their cooperation. I would like to thank
ateness of various features of the building and the settlement. Bobby Karlapudy and Wilson for their support in exploratory and
Following are the conclusions: Physical land surveys and my students, Ashwin, Amol, Shravan,
Vaahini, Raghu and others for their involvement in the docu-
1. The architecture of Marikal is found to be highly climate mentation and Ravi for his panoramic views. I would like to
sensitive, reecting a set of varying physical and nonphysical fondly acknowledge the help rendered by my daughters Lahari,
determinant forces such as climate and geology, religion, social Millie and husband Prasad VS Indraganti during the prolonged
values, economics, technology and administrative factors, all research.
linked to one another.
2. The settlement and buildings in Marikal are designed keeping References
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