You are on page 1of 2

Bachelor of Architecture

2011

AStudyintotheMakingofaTraditionalArchitecture:TheCaseofBeriChettiar DwellingsinChennai(18501950)
Student:V.S.Vigneswar Guide:RaneeVedamuthu Architectureorthebuiltenvironmentisthe'envelopment'ofvariousprocessesinsociety.Itis not a fossilized record of what happened but it is a containment of all kinds of forces which have already occurred and are probably likely to occur. This is especially true in the case of traditionalarchitecture.Traditionalarchitectureoftenservesasagoodrecordofthecontextual forcesatplayduringitsmakingandshowsatendencytobe'rooted', The BeriChettiar dwellings in Chennai (Madras) are a unique example of traditional architecture. Chennai, a colonial city, was established by the British in 1639. One of the first trading communities to establish themselves in the native settlement around Fort St George wastheBeriChettiarcommunity.Thoughthiscommunityhadextensiveoutsidecontact,ittried consciously to maintain and preserve its traditional roots. This combined influence is clearly evidentinthedwellingsbelongingtothiscommunity. WhatprimarilydefinestheBeriChettiarhouseasatypeisthe'Making'ofthebuilding.Inthis houseformthelayoutofthehouseisverysimilartothatofthetraditionalTamilhouseandthe urban context of Chennai, given the nature of its development, lead to the creation of these houses in isolation with each other. Despite these factors the BeriChetti dwelling is uniquely identifiable. The material usage, the building components, their assembly and the exquisite craftsmanshipappliedinthesedwellingsiswhatgivesthemtheiruniqueidentity.Giventhefact of the community's economic prosperity, it can be safely concluded that the construction methodsandprocessesoftheregionreachedapinnacleintheBeriChettiarhouse. Constructionisoneoftheprimaryactivitiesinthemakingofanyarchitecture.Theconstruction ofabuildingisaninclusiveprocesswhichenvelopstheflowofmaterial,energy,time,human lives,thewaysinwhichsocieties areorganized,thewayinwhichnatureworksetc.Thusthis studyhastriedtounderstandthemakingofthebuildingbyfirststudyingitasanartifactand thentoworkbackwardsfromthisunderstandingintotheprocessesandsystemsinvolvedinits actualmaking. Theaimwastodocumentandunderstandthemaking(construction)ofaBeriChettiarhouse through the study of the Building as an OBJECT the physical object and its attributes and BuildingasaPROCESStheresultofasystemofmaking.

Bachelor of Architecture

2011

Objectives Studythecontextinthattimeperiodwhichinfluencedthemakingofthesehousessuchas: HistoryofMadrascity(18501950) HistoryoftheBeriChettiarcommunity ThetraditionalTamilhousetype. SelectandDocumentBeriChettiarhousesinMadrasbuiltaroundtheperiod1850to1950. Studythephysicalattributesofthehousessuchas: Architecturalform Constituentpartsandtheirassembly Materialusage Studyoftheprocessesinvolvedintheconstructionofthesehousessuchas: Constructiontechniques Materialprocurement Buildingcrafts Ceremoniesduringconstruction Analyzethefindingsfromboththeabovestudies.