Our five-pronged approach focuses on your individual strengths to develop your unique qualities towards making you an exemplary pi- designer.
Indian architectural designing and planning is not something that has evolved recently with the help of technology and innovation. The architectural planning of the courtyard goes way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation era. Even the Chinese and European cities had the feature of courtyards both for their home and in their office spaces as well.
A courtyard is basically a fully open roof space or partially covered space without walls, that allow direct sunlight to pass through. This type of architecture can be seen mainly in the Indian villages where a courtyard is a socializing place for all the members of the family and it will be at the very center of the house. People use this place for different purposes. A courtyard is also a place where they will do rainwater harvesting, they will use it for cooking, sleeping, and a variety of other things.
The courtyard would give the impression of outdoor space because of the open rooftop. This is one of the classic architectural designs that has progressed and transformed into different forms with the help of interior and architectural designers.
Cultural practices and climatic conditions determine what type of buildings people build during ancient times. Nowadays, with the increasing scope and evolution and Interior and architectural design, almost any model of the house is possible anywhere because of the availability of resources and knowledge to put everything together.
The first courtyard house in India is dated back to 6500 BC to 6000 BC.
This type of internal courtyard was seen as an ideal thing to have in houses that are situated in warmer regions. Iran, Egypt, China, and India, all had this kind of architecture.
Courtyards have different names in different states of India. In Kerala, it is referred to as Nalukettu (the central courtyard surrounded by a set of rooms), Haveli in Rajasthan, wada houses of Gujarat, House in pols of Ahmedabad, etc.
This shows how rich of a culture India had. From textiles, and spices, to architecture, we always had a rich diversity of culture and thereby different forms of artwork and crafts. These kinds of architecture were implemented because in those time everyone usually lived as a joint family. So it would be appropriate to have a place where there can be more room for people to accommodate being indoors, but at the same time have a place where there is no barrier between them and nature.
This spatial arrangement was also a place dedicated to family activities such as weddings, rituals, and social gatherings.
The whole concept of the courtyard is basically building your home around a large open space.
HAVELIS IN RAJASTHAN
In Roman culture the central open space of a house is referred to as an atrium, where they do gardening activities and collect rainwater. In China, they sought this open space as that which gives them peace and they spend more time in this part of their house. In the European style, the courtyard was used for working and family gatherings.
With this way of living, people also became more immune to different climatic conditions. The courtyards were seen all over the world with their own modulations and changes suited to the need and demands of people living there.
These designs provide excellent sunlight and proper ventilation inside the house. Even now if we go into the villages of India, we can clearly notice the distinction between the way people live there and in the cities. The courtyards are still seen, and they are still used for various purposes.
So, the courtyard is not just another architectural feat or marvel, even though it is, but it is more of a way of living for people. Different religion, and different culture, adopted their own ways of having and maintaining a courtyard. During ancient times, people were also more concerned about the material that they use to build a courtyard. Since the general public were not very rich also, there were certain financial constraints. They used materials such as Laterite stones, wooden rafters, mud plastering, flooring, etc, which brings in the necessary thermal effect also. It has been proven that if a house has a courtyard and they are doing some sort of vegetation activities or they have a water pool in there, the temperature can reduce inside the house to up to 4 degrees celsius.
They also have a cooling effect during the nighttime.
Our ancestors have come up with a classic architectural design that can have many benefits but at the same time economical because of the materials they use, isn’t this the best combination that everyone looks for?
Once again we are going to take lessons from the past!
There have been many inspirations being taken from the courtyards of the past that are being implemented in the present. Changing times means a change in trend and change in the mindset of people. Another perspective to look into this is that, the population has increased many fold and we are living in highly concentrated and bustling cities. Individual houses are transformed into multi-floored apartments. In this case there will be space constraints to build a courtyard similar to the ancient grandeur. An alternative plan which is widely being implemented nowadays is having balconies, or open door windows, or Terrace farming if that's feasible. In one way or another we are trying to stack up the positive attributes of the courtyard with these smaller and executable amenities in today’s world. So, it would not be possible to completely replicate the ancient design. But as we discussed earlier so much advancement has happened in the arena of Interior and architectural design. We are constantly looking at things to make them better in every way possible. So yes, lots of inspiration is available from digging into our pasts.
There are many contemporary courtyards across India that have developed their own unique flavor and design element to it.
MODERN COURTYARD WITH ZEN GARDEN
Nowadays people have what is called the “private courtyard”, which balances all the rooms and balconies which surround it. These places are typically used for gardening, or in fact just to relax.
Verandahs, large halls, and enclosed yards are also modern elements that are being added to the courtyard.
Even though the courtyard found difficult to survive as a design element in the modern era, there are still places where people still have this indigenous architecture.
In Goa, there are still many “Rajangann” or courtyard houses that are still present both in the rural and urban areas. This type of architecture comes under the lineage of the Thottimane style of Karnataka, Chettinad style of Tamil Nadu, and Havelis of Rajasthan.
CHETTINAD COURTYARD, TAMIL NADU
THOTTIMANE COURTYARD, KARNATAKA
Now, in these contemporary times, people want to build a home that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Since we discussed the thermal and cooling effects that are there in courtyards, it is expected that more research will be done on this subject in the near future. That is the prediction of some people who are into this historical edifice.
There are some serious steps that are being undertaken in Goa, where a motivated group who are into Vintage heritage and history are trying to document and preserve a few hundred homes that are historic when it comes to the architecture.
Revival of the courtyard is being done consciously by entities such as hotels, farmhouses, and independent homes. Many architects are trying for this revival in both urban and rural areas. Imagine having a courtyard in your home and after a busy day at work, you could literally chill with your family in your own courtyard!
Modern courtyard houses have elements such as built-in seating arrangements, cooking area, land area, pool, etc. These when put together cohesively will create an elegant living house. This planning will be far better than the usual box type of building where there is no connection with nature.
Even after hundreds of years of rich cultural heritage, courtyard homes still draw enough attention for what they are. They are still relevant even in this day and age. Climatic resilient houses are what we are looking for. This is offered by courtyard architecture in the best way possible. So, is it going to be the new future once again?
Will the courtyard become more popular? Only time will tell. There are many architectural and interior designing studios that are contemporizing the courtyard in a huge way and trying to make it popular.
Preservation of these ancient buildings is also equally very important. Urbanization is causing a threat to these historic buildings. If they are protected and preserved they can be a source of knowledge and inspiration for future generations as well. Often referring to the western culture and trying to be all modern in our way of living have been proved very costly when we look at the environmental issues that have been impending on us on a day-to-day basis.
One more very crucial thing to consider is sustainability. This amazes us to realize that our ancestors have always lived sustainable life. It’s only us down the generation who forgot its vitality and changed our direction in the wrong way.
The courtyard reduces the carbon footprint of the building much more effectively.
In every possible way, the courtyard seems advantageous. Be it the aesthetics part of it or the harmony that it brings with nature and our lifestyle, the courtyard scores very high. Anything may have flaws in it. But if the idea and concept of a courtyard, if properly planned and structured in this day and age, can bring a huge change in the surrounding environment.
Did you know that we spend about 90% of our time indoors! We use the built environment, especially interior spaces,…
We live in a hyperlinked, hyper-connected world! Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Youtube, Google, have become verbs that represent “things we…
The moment one hears the word fashion, one immediately visualises, beautiful clothes, bags, accessories, interesting prints, embroidery and colours, glamour,…
In the first of our series of interactions with you, the aspiring Communication Design student, I think it is important…
The digital age has allowed photography to boom like never before. It’s a massive, commercial industry which is growing explosively…