Saturday, February 11, 2012

Konkan House cluster- self conscious form

               Architecture of the Konkan is not monumental or iconic. One can always see clusters of houses standing adjacent  to each other as if they are integrated .It’s interesting to see different patterns of configuration of laterite sometimes mud even modern brick with manglore tiles on top. If you will overview, you will find it similar, but great fun is to travel and take closer glimpse. Each of this house has its own touch, it’s own unique combination of color , customized space allotment. After all its architecture for the people by the people.

               Even though there is abundant space is available to build upon, most of the houses are forming irregular cluster. There are social, geographical reason behind it. Generally these houses are not separate entities but extensions. If I take example of my ancestral house, it is build by my great grand father. It is made up of  almost 1ft thick mud wall. It is extension of  house nearby by.Now my uncle has extended it by building small house made up of laterite. These houses share some common amenities such as aangan, Tulsi vrindavan, well, backyard etc.
                Generally these clusters are designed and build by people belong to same caste. Usually land own by one family, which get subdivided  within family members. Generation after generation,as per need they build their place. For social security it is generally beside its origin.
                Konkan is blessed with heavy rainfall, humidity causing dehydration. During these seasons, closely packed form facilitate direct connection within each other without exposure to the outer environment. Even roads are formed by strategic placement of house. As a result of this, roads are always shaded makes sizzling environment livable.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Site/Plot selection checklist

                  Buying plot for construction of house requires more precaution. It is always recommended to consult with your architect. Make sure that before buying property take architect with you on site visit, as he can visualize positives and negatives of that site better than looking at just plan on paper.
                We always pay attention toward legal procedures, but it is most important to check physical and geographical  properties  as it  will affect our daily life. If in case you want to pursue any plot in near future and you don’t have any assistance then attached check list will help you to check competency of the plot. It will also help you for comparison and ultimately  to take proper decision. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Steps involved in building a house

                  In rural Konkan,people build their own houses with the help of special  house builder from same village and with locally available material. This houses last for many generations. Nowadays ,Steps involve in house building are modified as per latest trend ,convenience ,time and other related  factors but sentiment will always remain same.
                 Building even a basic house is beyond the usual scope of a article, but here are some general guidelines, and a basic list of steps involved in constructing a house.
1)      Finance: This is first important step as, it will decide exact picture of the project. Owner must decide overall budget ,which includes amount of saving one wish to spend and  amount of loan considering current income ,future plans etc. Say your budget amount  is X.
         X=Architect’s fee+ Building material cost + labor cost + Contractor’s profit +                                    .Miscellaneous charges
2)      Plot selection: Purchasing plot is one of the most important part. Its better to take advise professional. He can find out positives and negatives of the site. Do not entirely trust on agents .There are lot more legal things involved along with services, designing. You will not always come across plot which do not have any problem but because of professional’s advice you will be able to find out if that can be overcome.
3)      Legal verification: Before purchasing plot, always check if land has clear marketable title. first find out tenure ,legal right of holder of lands in government records; tenure or possession right, whether free hold or leasehold or under government grant or sanad. Architect prepare drawings necessary for Client's/ statutory approvals and ensure compliance with codes, standards and legislation
4)      Planning and designing : Always get  plan  prepared by professional Architect. He is the one can develop most suitable design as per your taste, budget, site condition. Architect  can give professional assistance in both design and implementation of the building project.
5)      Hire contractor and prepare estimate :Based on quantities and specifications calculated by architect, owner asks for estimation from different contractor. He advises Client on appointment of contractors. Owner will get detail cost of construction in this process. During selection of contactor, owner  can clear certain  special conditions such as water supply required for construction, Electricity ,total time period required for work etc. In small  villages, Contractor and owner don’t go for formal contract but it is better to have one.
6)     Structural design : Based on architectural design ,structural designer prepares appropriate construction drawings such as column, beam, foundation as per load and soil conditions.
7)     Construction: During actual construction phase ,Periodic inspection and evaluation of Construction works are done by an architects.. Sometimes onsite changes are done in design by permission of an architect
8)      Completion: Its architect’s responsibility to prepare and submit completion reports and drawings for the project as required and assist the Client in obtaining "Completion/ Occupancy Certificate" from statutory authorities, wherever required.
              In  some part of konkan ,it is hard to get qualified and local architect. Sometimes cost of construction is so less that  some of the architects from cities  are not willing to do work in rural area, but it is always better to  have qualified and experienced professional to check the plot and  house construction. Go through this blog. I am trying to post details related with architectural  practice in konkan  area. You can email me queries  at

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Land measurement units

                  If one wants to construct house or buy any property, then it is essential to have correct knowledge of units of land measurement. There were various units of land measurement  in India due to influence of  different empires.
                 Early during Maurya period,Kautilya had developed land revenue collection system. After that Mughal empire  tried to develop very precise  land measurement system .Illahi gaz, unit of measurement length was used throughout Mughal India. In Tamilnadu, unit of measurement was developed in Chola period. Smallest unit of measurement was Viral. In western Maharashatra , Shivaji had developed land administration system.
                     Now a days, British units are used for land measurement. Basic unit of measurements   are as follows:
                 1)12 inch = 1ft
                 2) 1Guntha = 33ftX33ft = 1089 sq.ft
                 3)1 Acre = 40 guntha
                 4)1 Hectare = 2.5 Acre
                 The  system  of measurement in the state is a Chain survey. All Talathis have to pass examination on revenue survey  to mark boundary of the property according to village map.
                 More about Acre and Guntha.
                 Revenue survey map are measured by Acre.The chain used for   
        measurement  is 33ft long and made up of 16 links. A acre  is 40 Gunthas.1
        guntha is 1 square chain. 1 link long and 1 link broad is Anna.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dream house in Konkan and legal procedures

                   I love my native place…Majgaon ..village just beside Sawantwadi. As a student of architecture, I started identifying architectural elements, village pattern, cultural elements of this region. It is rustic,yet pure and that attracts everyone.
                 Like everyone else we have dream of building own house at our native place. Our family owns ancestral land. But building a house, isn’t so simple. As I was practicing in Mumbai, not aware of various legal procedure of land acquisition in rural area. Fortunately, we had all updated documents in our hand .Still it took lot of time because of all complex procedure as well as lack of awareness about it.
                So I started looking for it. While searching on internet, I came across really informative article written by Sudhakar Dokane.It is worth sharing .
                  If you are looking to purchase land or want to build house in konkan, then it is better to have basic information about  various rules and regulation rather than just having blind faith on agent. If you have came across any legal problem or you know about procedures of land acquisition ,then do share with us.

Topography and village structure

Parshuram Mandir,Chiplun
                     Geography of the place plays important role in formation of the human settlement .Village structure of the konkan can be better understood,  if  we are aware of  formation of this region.
                     There is interesting  mythological story related with formation of konkan. Konkan is land of lord Parshuram, sixth avatar of Ram. He fought with advancing sea  and preserved  Konkan and Malabar region.There are several temples of Pershuram along west cost line out of which temple at ‘Peth Parshuramis famous because of belief that, he stayed at this place.
                    Geographically, Konkan region is formed by tectonic uplift of due to collision of Indian and Eurasian plates. Due to collision it has formed  variation in topography ranging from open beaches to area surrounded by hills.  western extension of the uplifted was submerged under waters of the Arabian Sea has evolved as Konkan. This narrow coastal belt is arranged in step like terraces, pointing to the recent oscillations in the sea level and of submergence as evident from the drowned valleys, lagoons and sand bars. Wavecut cliffs and platforms are also common along the coastline indicating changes in the sea level
                    (Reference :Thesis report on Coastal Areas – Problems and Conservation in Maharashtra with special reference to Mangroves)
                   Journey  through  this region is interesting  because of  variation in land. After descending some miles from zig zag mountain road  one come across part of paddy field, small settlement  generally  known as Wadi/Wada. Some of the villages are hidden in folds of hills. Often the name of wadi or village indicates  it  geographical position ,such as Khalchi wadi (Khalchi means it is placed  on lower plateau ) ,varchi wadi  (Upper plateau ).
                      So,What is the name of your  wadi ? and what does it stand for?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Konkan architecture

Miranda’s depiction of the Konkan Railway

         Konkan is west coastline of India. It stretches from Raigad to Manglore. Sahyadri mountain marks it’s eastern boundary ,where as Arabian  sea is kissing it’s beaches on western side. It is a land, where mythology breathes side by side with economic growth; a land with rich mineral resources, dense forest cover and a landscape is fringing with paddy, coconut and mango trees. Konkan offers tremendous variety in history, culture, wildlife. Many places are yet untouched and pristine.
                 Konkan traditional architecture is influenced by nature .It is sustainable, cost effective  too. Now a days, slowly it is going away from it’s root. Some alien trend s are influencing it. In spite of that, original architectural practice has its own  features.
                 We, you and  me are going to accumulate all treasure of that original practice as well as we will try to enhance those techniques so that it will fulfill demands of modern lifestyle. We will try to document here salient features through visuals and word.