In our journey as architects in Kerala, we have had the privilege of delving into the rich tapestry of traditional architecture across India. As we ventured to present a conceptual design for a captivating farm resort in a serene village outside Hyderabad, our exploration led us to the timeless charm of Andhra’s traditional houses. These vernacular architectural gems, steeped in history and culture, hold an allure that transcends generations.
While presenting a conceptual design for a farm resort in a village outside Hyderabad, we did some studies on the traditional village houses of Andhra.
Vernacular Village Houses
The open courtyard is a familiar feature even in Andhra. Additionally, homes in this part of the country would also have large halls running through the length of the house. Traditional homes in this region, probably owing to the influence of kings who ruled here, show an appealing mix of Muslim architecture, along with local architectural flavours. Use of black slate stone, arches in the house or carved screens and even Urdu calligraphy, are common sights.
Chuttillu or Middillu are circular-clustered homes that you could see in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. While traditional homes are giving way to modern homes, the use of red bricks, teakwood and elaborately decorated entrances, are still preferred by many households.
The weaver’s houses from Telangana follow a chitrasala, layout with three sections in the front and the rooms at the back, housing a courtyard at the centre. Usually built of bamboo, Palmyra as beams, and roof tiles in a semi-circular shape. According to economic conditions the house might have an enclosed garden area.
While vernacular houses usually only refer to climatic conditions, the houses in the south depend largely on the economic factors of the families. The use of local materials and labour must have made things cheaper and more feasible. Their livelihood and jobs are very visible from the architecture. The house shapes the people and is shaped by the people.
This quaint little village had these beautifully layered walls of cob commonly used in the all the houses in the village.
Walls are otherwise typically plastered with lime inside and left with a mud render on the outside. The road is easily a few feet above the courtyard visible through the door and the laying of Nati (village) roof tiles are quite different as to what one would see in Tamil Nadu.
The cob homes are known to be small and size efficient. Building with cob falls under the umbrella of natural building. A cob house can be built from the earth right beneath the building site. People are drawn to cob homes in large part due to their beauty and creative designs. Buildings are not limited to ninety degree angle. The main ingredients for making cob are clay, sand and straw.
The courtyard houses of Andhra Pradesh.Since the joint family system was in vogue at the time, large homes with numerous room and courtyards were a necessity. The manduva logili homes, mostly found near Godavari, Guntur, Nellore, Cuddapah or Vijayanagaram were mostly built before the 1950s.There were two kinds of traditional houses in Andhra Pradesh. While the manduva logili or illu featuring a courtyard with rooms that opened onto it was found mostly in villages, the chavadi illu had a large hall that stretched across the house and built mostly by the upper castes.
Kaccha building of Andhra Pradesh- Chuttillu from costal Andhra Pradesh
This house cluster is found in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. In cyclone-prone areas, fishermen and agricultural farmers build circular houses whish nestle closely to form clusters. These houses were designed to withstand high-pressure winds and rain. The walls were built with balls of mud to make them thick. Special rooms were allotted for storage of grains, farm equipment, and items for the use of the family. The houses were built close to each other in a circular formation so that the cyclonic winds that often hit the coast bounced off tangentially away from the cluster. The roads leading into a hamlet were usually narrow mud paths, opening into large open spaces. Around which mud and thatch huts lay strewn.
We also incorporated local arts and crafts of the area.
Typical Stone Carving
Typical Wood Carving
Typical Temple Detailing
Kalamkari Wall Murals
And together with the exotic and vibrant combination of colours used in the villages came up with some interesting ideas for our project which we call “Vibes of The village”.
As architects in Kerala, we draw inspiration from these cultural treasures and the architectural wisdom embedded in the very fabric of these homes. We hope this journey has left you with a deeper appreciation for the architectural heritage of Andhra, and the inspiration to blend tradition with modern design.