Exploring the Language of Vernacular Architecture in Today’s Context: A Case of ‘Kavunji,’ India

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Arulmalar Ramaraj
Catherine Selvaraj
Sanghavi Venkata Varadan


Globalisation, urbanisation, human neglect, socio-economic conditions, discontinuity, weather and climate have been identified from literature studies as the root causes hindering the vernacular architecture. The objective of this article is to explore such causes and impacts on vernacular architecture. For this purpose, ‘Kavunji’a village near Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu is identified. Due to the geographical location and the landform, the vernacular architecture in this village is recently undergoing modifications and extensions. To comprehend the salient characteristics of vernacular architecture, six typologies were identified. The thrust of this paper is to explore the reasons that contributed to modifications and additions in dwelling units and effects on the people’s attitude towards the maintenance of the built environment and form at regular intervals is declining rapidly as it requires tremendous efforts, fiscal resources, energy, and time. As a result, people are utilising modern materials to modify and extend the existing dwelling units, completely ignoring the essence of the context. The authors have identified syntactic analysis as a potential tool to comprehend the changes in the spatial relationship. With this as the focus, dwelling units limited to two-storeys with and without modifications were identified for an in-depth study. The semi-public space thinnai at the main entrance from the street is converted into a bathing space. Besides, additions of rooms occur only on the rear side of the dwelling unit. From this study, the authors reinstate that syntactic analysis effectively explores and interprets the efficiency of the spatial layout in dwelling units that have undergone modifications and additions.



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Ramaraj, A., Selvaraj, C., & Venkata Varadan, S. (2021). Exploring the Language of Vernacular Architecture in Today’s Context: A Case of ‘Kavunji,’ India . Space and Culture, India, 8(4), 120-133. https://doi.org/10.20896/saci.v8i4.1078


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