Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mud house - 2

The layout of the round mud house was always the same. It comprised of a circular inner room which was used mainly for storage of grain and all the main belongings of the household. During winter, this room was also used for sleeping. In the summer, the family slept outdoors or on the spactious verandah that was a part of every house. Enveloping this inner room, in plan, was another circle which served on the left as the kitchen and on the right as a store room or a sitting/sleeping area. The circular house was based on the concept of a verandah and again verandah.

The inner room received light only through the door to the room. Because of the extremely low overhang of the thatch roof, it was better not to have windows. And the low overhang was to protect the mud walls from the rains. The roads leading into a hamlet were the usual narrow mud paths, opening into large open spaces, around which mud and thatch huts lay strewn.

The children were always outdoors unless they were at school, which was a basic one, and yet not all families could afford to send their children to school. Some children continued to play in their verandahs or just outside their homes waiting for the school bell to ring when the other children would join them.

While the children played in the sun, the mother cooked on the common chulahs (stoves) built by them in the open spaces. These had been made in the same earth that had built their homes. Wood was used as fuel.

While the rice cooked, some women were busy within the house, cleaning, or putting a little one to sleep. They moved back and forth from indoors to outdoors, making transitions through spaces and making similar transitions through the day from family responsibilities to social intermingling.

The design principles that had been followed in the layout of the coastal andhra houses allowed these interactions amongst families. It was a way of life that they had always followed. Often, roof overhangs of adjoining houses touched, but one bent a little to go beyond, on the mud path that lead between them.

1 comment:

Meenakshi Krishnasamy said...

Hi Kiran:

I am an architect myself and a regular reader of your blog. I enjoyed reading Mud House series. Please do write more about Indian Vernacular Architecture.