‘Vernacular’ is a process and not a style. Traditional building and knowledge systems are processes evolved with an immense bank of knowledge and understanding, backed with years of trials and failures, which are conscious about the context and background.
“The heritage of any civilisation are the milestones that define the historical timeline of the region and that of the community. This is either available in scripts, stories, folklore or the built environment. Evidently, it is this built heritage that adds substance due to the visual impact and thus it becomes an important aspect to be studied, learnt and understood.
The longevity of these built forms is a testimony to the construction system, the material knowledge and the workmanship of the artisan. Let’s indulge in the narrative of how it was built, the processes because of which we have an enriched historical narrative.”
The Forts and Haveli’s of Rajasthan, monasteries, and houses across Ladakh, temples of South India or the tribal dwellings in North-East India aren’t a product of a single individual but that of a community that has built it over a period of time. Architecture today is seen as an idiosyncratic process of a single individual based on certain set notions and ideologies. It is an opposition to the principals that construction once stood for.
Systems have been ecologically sensitive, technically sustainable, and have been very carefully synchronized in harmony with the forces of nature to derive the perfect balance for healthy and happy human existence. In a century, humankind has become a cause and victim of rising concerns with climate change, global warming, rising sea levels, decreasing ice caps, freshwater depletion, topsoil depletion etc, etc. With the currents industrial and construction trends; the traditional process has been ignored and is ironically being termed as ‘alternative’ or ‘a need for conservation projects only’.
We set ourselves on an Exploratory journey, traversing through the countrysides and hinterlands. We engage with the local population, learning from their wisdom, understanding the nuances and the culture and lifestyle to which the built environment responds. We are creating a database and a repository of all such systems with a hope to add these to the existing knowledge pool of built environment studies.
Explore | Engage | Embrace
These knowledge systems are embraced and thus begins our experimentation into the application of their wisdom into a contemporary product. Our work contributes to highlighting the lost crafts and building skills, thus engaging in a fresh dialogue that involves a contemporary application of the otherwise factual documentation.
Document | Innovate | Build