SOCIAL ROLE OF THE WALL: THE DOMESTIC VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE OF SOUTH INDIA
Free (open access)
311 - 325
ANJALI SADANAND, RAMASAMY VEERANASAMY NAGARAJAN, MONSINGH DEVADOSS
Meaning and symbolism consecrate the vernacular house. The vernacular house is a response to the environment visible in the investment of knowledge systems imbedded in its architectural fabric. The house becomes an agency of socio-cultural norms through the architecture language and materiality of its spaces and elements and in doing so the domestic house acts as a repository of intangible and tangible cultural heritage. The objective of this paper is to explore the role walls play in conserving this heritage. The paper will study the manner in which walls construct social realities by looking at the different roles they play, through an exploration of their character, materiality spatial, structural and social function. Theoretical frameworks espoused by Simon Unwin, Yatin Pandya and Julienne Hanson will be used to support the discussion. In order to illustrate the context of the wall in domestic vernacular architecture. The discussion will focus on a comparison of walls across four typologies of vernacular houses of varying size, spatial organization and materiality from Tamil Nadu, South India. It will be argued that in cases where change is present, modern materials have shifted the emphasis of a value system based on the significance of socio-cultural norms to that of socio-economic considerations which have resulted in subtle transformations. In other situations vernacular traditions as architectural strategies and devices are repeated in modern houses with the intention of continuing tradition. The wall is objectivized and finds its way in contemporary architecture as an artefact which through memory of association assures identity and continuity.
wall, vernacular, gender, status, symbolism, layering