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1. Purview of Art History

2. Architecture History
3. Social History
4. Economic History
5. Structural/Engineering History

1. Research
2. Knowledge
3. Awareness
4. Appreciation
Also get to know about PEOPLE living style, Work nature, creating things
CRAFTS & STYLISTIC IDIOM. Forwards understanding of live.
STEP 2: Active Interaction/Intervention with the built Environment, Management of
Documentation of Settlement current context constituent parts
1. Form, Character, Qualities, Capacities & Vulnerabilities
2. Evolution Over time
3. How it coped with & reacted to change
4. Find aspects of continuity & changed in settlements ability to cope with
Physical Challenges of Our days
5. Guidelines for the future Transformation of historic settlements respecting
their inherent qualities, capacities, Vulnerabilities & their ability to cope with
change for future planning, architecture & Build process
Process of change
Interacting with new elements
Assimilating new ideas
Thoughts, aspirations, creativity, renewing

Residential unit :

Physical evolution of Building
Physical evolution of Settlement
Physical evolution of Styles


Architectural aspects Construction techniques, Material application, Structural

measures, Facades
Scope of change- abilities, disabilities



About study
1. Vernacular terminology
2. Evolution of structure & Construction techniques
3. Aspects of settlements
4. Elements of building
5. Functional & Cultural characteristics

Source :

Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC)

The Building Documentation

The Building Documentation is a process of recording, categorizing and

dissemination of information, through both graphic and written mediums. The
process documents and explains the significant characteristics, physical
configuration, as well as Elements (Interior Architecture elements, Furniture, Objects
and Accessories) of the Traditional and Vernacular Buildings.The recording process
initiates with gathering information, followed by recording through field drawings
and photographic documentation, which culminates with the preparation of an in-
depth Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP). This portfolio comprises of meticulous two
dimensional (plan, section and elevation), three dimensional and exploded drawings
of the architecture, interior architecture and furniture elements as well as smallest
details from the hardware to surface ornamentation. This recorded data is further
used to prepare the Building Element Manual and Building Interactive Kit.

The Building Documentation is segregated into four stages:

Background Research: Before commencing on the actual field work, the documentation team
gathers basic information on existing records related to the building to be documented. The existing
documents may be in the form of drawings, photographs, literary accounts of its descriptions and
documents related to its history, ownership etc. These records are generally searched and procured
from archives, local municipalities, research institutions, architectural colleges, museums, libraries
or private collections. Based on the background research, the next stage of field work is planned,
determining the most appropriate level and the scope for the required purpose. Also, based on the
scope and features of the building to be documented, the human skill and the techniques for
documentation, along with a tentative time schedule, are determined.

Field work and Documentation: This stage involves gathering information on site through
field drawings, photographs and interactive discussions and interviews. The field drawings are the
raw materials required for producing measured drawings of various Interior Architecture
components, and constitute of hand drawings with detailed dimensions. Field drawings are a
valuable primary resource and contain all the detailed information on the documented building. The
field work is thought out in advance to organize the process of recording efficiently. The process also
includes photographic documentation to aid the on-field documentation. The photography is done
to record the building, its spaces, elements, crafts and ornamentation in its current condition. It also
involves site/location study which further makes the research richer and complete. The photographs
amplify and illuminate a record and act as valuable supplement to verify drawn or written records.
Moreover, the data is also gathered through a dialogue with the residents. By conducting this, one
can determine the changes to the property over time, ownership details, historic function and
activities, association with events and persons, and the role of the property in the local, regional or
national history.

Data Cataloguing and Digitization: The cataloging and digitization of information collected
through on-field recording is among the most important aspect of the documentation process. Data
cataloguing includes compilation of drawings and photographs in a systematic manner. At DICRC,
the field drawings are inked, scanned and catalogued in separate sets, namely Architectural, Interior
Architecture and Furniture drawings. Also, photographs are catalogued according to the above
mentioned sets with subcategories which include details and views of the spaces from the building.
The process also includes cataloguing of interviews with the residents, in print and electronic media.
Subsequently, the digitization of field data in the form of detailed drawings is done. The recorded
data from field visit are converted into vector-based drawings: Two-dimensional, Three-dimensional
drawings and exploded drawings. The drawing set are also categorised in three sets: Architectural,
Interior Architectural and Furniture elements. Moreover, exploded views for selective interior
elements are made based on the criteria of richness, number of crafts expressed, craftsmanship
and features amongst the type of elements.

Dissemination: The information generated through the process of documentation, including field
drawings and vector-based drawings, are disseminated through two separate set of documents. The
data collected through hand measurements form a part of the Field Drawing Booklets, whereas the
detailed technical drawings are disseminated through the Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP). The
TBP contains plans, sections, elevations, details and interpretive drawings for all the categories,
Architectural, Interior Architectural and Furniture elements. The documentation process isnt limited
to the formation of the detailed portfolios, but carries itself further through the development of the
Building Element Manual and Building Interactive Kit. The Building Element Manual is a set of data
generated the process of "Analysis and Interpretation of the elements, whereas the Building
Interactive Kit is an educational kit which aims at generating awareness regarding the traditional and
vernacular buildings, and crafts of India. All these data is also disseminated through Online
Interactive Building Lab. There have been many efforts of documentation done by various
individuals and organisations but it has overlooked the magnificence of the Space Making Crafts
(SMC) and Surface Narrative Crafts (SNC) related to the Traditional and Vernacular Architecture of
India. Various craftspeople and master builders have employed their inherited knowledge and skills
to make these buildings. The imperative need of recording and creating a detailed analysis of the
prime specimens of the traditional and vernacular buildings of India gave rise to the Building
Documentation project. The data generated out of this project will act as a valuable educational
resource to various students, craftspeople, educators, design professionals, conservationist, and all
those related to the field of Art, Craft, Design and Architecture.


The segment of Research and Analysis deals with performing a deeper
investigation into the subject of traditional and vernacular buildings of
India with respect to their architecture, interior architecture and furniture
elements.The purpose of this segment is to generate an understanding on
traditional and vernacular buildings through empirical knowledge; and to
develop new perspectives on the subject so as to bring the traditional
knowledge and skills back to education and practice. The process of
carrying out this research involves various stages such as desk research
and on-field research, leading to a thorough inquiry into various tangible
and intangible aspects of these buildings such as - the physical and socio-
cultural context, building materials, construction techniques,
craft techniques, ornamentation, etc.
The outcomes of this segment include the Building Interactive Kit and the Traditional
Building Element
Manual (TBEM).
Resource Building and Dissemination
To collect, categorize and classify data for the dissemination and to
increase awareness within society about Space Making Crafts, Space
Narrative Crafts and Traditional and vernacular buildings in India.

Traditional and Vernacular Building

The traditional and vernacular buildings constitute a major section of built heritage
in India. They are the ones which highlight the empirical knowledge of the materials
and construction techniques. Moreover, these buildings form a physical
compendium of the rituals and culture of a civilization and its people. Vernacular
buildings consist of all the buildings which use locally available materials to address
the local needs and surroundings. These materials range from stone to bamboo,
earth and wood; helping create a region responsive architecture. These buildings
are constructed by local craftspeople, using indigenous technologies which have
evolved over the years. The principles of indigenous building knowledge gradually
evolved into more refined systems which, over time, have resulted into the
development of various traditional building typologies. The traditional buildings
show enhanced use of the locally available materials and are an embodiment of the
social systems. While the vernacular buildings show a simplistic construction system
with minimal expressions of the society, the traditional buildings show a developed
style of construction and expression. Both the building typologies represent the
prevailing social and cultural systems.

The traditional and vernacular buildings are built in response to the macro-climate
and the surroundings. These buildings are in harmony with the local surrounds, and
blend with the natural and physical environs. The buildings showcase an optimum
use of local materials, giving them natural colour and texture; making them
congruous to the natural topography. The traditional and vernacular buildings also
respond to the neighbouring houses, both visually and spatially. The local
craftspeople play an important role in the making of these buildings. The
craftspeople, over the years, have responded to the individual needs of the
buildings and developed indigenous construction techniques and innovative
material usage. The empirical knowledge systems, developed through frugal
innovations, make the buildings inherently responsive to the natural calamities and
climatic hazards. These buildings are also a manifestation of the society which
constructs it. They highlight the behaviour and beliefs of the residents occupying it,
which comes out through spatial planning and expressions. Apart from these, the
built environment also imbibes the religious and socio-cultural belief of the
India, with its geographical diversities, showcases a wide array of traditional and
vernacular built forms. In todays time, our country is constantly undergoing a
change in the built environment and the related building technologies. These
changes are brought upon by the rapid globalisation, gentrification, mass urban
housing, technological advancements and the global environmental crisis. In this
scenario, the tangible heritage of the country is diminishing gradually and the
intangible culture associated with it is also losing its value in todays lives. Because
of these reasons our settlements have lost their distinctiveness. The buildings within
these new settlements end up looking similar everywhere and without any
contextual response. Moreover, as the newer building technologies used in every
part of the country are largely same, they overlook the specific climatic and
geographical needs of the place. This makes the buildings more prone to the various
climatic hazards. Thus, the need of the time is to develop sustainable building
systems by combining valuable lessons from our built heritage with the modern
systems. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to understand and imbibe the
virtues of knowledge systems found in the traditional and vernacular buildings.
The traditional and vernacular buildings are responsive, coherent and indigenous
which make them distinct and sustainable. Hence, there is an inherent need to
develop a database of these buildings and its different aspects, and to understand
and revive our traditional knowledge systems.

Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC) recognizes the need for
studying, recording and utilising local understanding of building crafts incorporated
in the traditional and vernacular buildings. DICRCs main objective is to
identify, research and re-engage traditional building crafts and integrate them in the
current Interior- Architecture education as well as practice through various
initiatives. The underlying intention is to combine crafts related to built heritage to
explore their possibilities in current milieu.

With this intention at the forefront, researchers at DICRC has initiated various
activities to identify, document, analyse and disseminate the data pertaining to
the traditional and vernacular buildings. One of the ways towards a holistic
identification method involves the project of mapping these buildings, along with
the elements. The process of mapping the numerous buildings, interior architecture
and furniture elements also includes the associated Space Making Crafts (SMC) and
Surface Narrative Crafts (SNC). This process of identification happens through the
process of Building Mapping. This process is real time in nature and the recorded
data is then displayed through an interactive online Building Catalogue and Building
Map. DICRC also records and investigates the traditional and vernacular buildings
and comprehend the building practices. This is achieved through the on-field
measure drawing of every detail of a selected building including the architectural
form to the smallest interior details. The data generated through the on-field
documentation is converted to detailed and precise vector-based drawings, which
form a part of Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP). These portfolios help understand
the material usage and the construction systems, along with the most elaborate
information of interior-architecture and furniture elements. This is done to
understand the local craft applications and how the empirical knowledge systems
have been used and innovated through the ages.

At DICRC, answering the need of the lack of substantial educational material about
the traditional and vernacular buildings is a vital criteria. Thus, all the documented
data is analysed and disseminated using print and online mediums. The data which
forms part of the TBP is further used for analysing and interpreting the elements
and associated SMCs and SNCs. This final step of analysis then gets disseminated
through Building Interactive Kit and Building Element Manual. The Building
Interactive Kit is an online educational application aimed at generating awareness
regarding the traditional and vernacular buildings. The kit provides a holistic virtual
experience of the buildings with respect to their context, architecture, elements and
the traditional knowledge systems incorporated in them. The complete outcome is
intended to reach design professionals, conservationists, academicians, and
students as well as crafts people. The Building Element Manual is a set of data
generated through the process of analysis of the interior architecture and furniture
elements within the traditional and vernacular buildings. The elements, created by
skilled craftspeople, are analysed in order to understand the embedded knowledge
systems. A particular element is understood not only through its form and
articulation but also through aesthetics, usage and process of making.
The research work is also disseminated through various forms of publications,
namely books, exhibition panels and fieldwork reports. These endeavours have their
relevance as educational materials in architecture and design schools along with
developing a manual on vocabulary of building crafts for both craftspeople and

The Building Mapping

The Building Mapping is an approach towards identifying, understanding and

developing a detailed inventory for different types of Traditional and Vernacular
Buildings, their Elements (Interior Architecture elements, Furniture, Objects and
Accessories) as well as the Space Making Crafts (SMC) and Surface Narrative Crafts
(SNC) integrated within it; spread across India. The Building Mapping is an inclusive
system of recording through photographic survey, form based inventory and
interviews. It is the first of its kind visual-based mapping technique in India
conducted using interactive mobile tablet survey. A specific mobile application has
been developed by the researchers at DICRC to conduct this survey. The data
generated out of this mapping process is categorized and it is taken further in
preparing an in-depth Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP), Traditional Building
Elements Catalogue (TBEC) and Interactive Online Map; all being disseminated
through various online platforms.

The Building Mapping has got four stages:

Mobile Application Form: In order to conduct a visual-based mapping survey
through mobile or tablet, a Mobile Application Form using ODK platform is
developed through the process of research, trial-error experimentation and pilot
project conducted by the researchers of DICRC. The interactive form is designed to
record in detail the information about numerous types of Traditional and Vernacular
Buildings, their Interior Architecture elements like wall, floor, ceiling, roof, door,
window, column, bracket, stair, balcony and jharokha, parapets and railings, arches,
entablature, etc and Furniture elements like bed, table, storage, chair, sofa, bench,
stool, partition, swing, etc. The recorded data reveal information ranging from type
and location of element to materials used to the various levels of crafts and
expressions involved. The Mobile Application Form can also be easily adapted for
survey in different regions of the country, even though they differ in the making and
expressions of the various crafts related to Interior Architecture.

Field work and Mapping: It involves travelling extensively through various towns,
villages and cities to collect data using the mobile or tablet. The process also
includes photographic documentation to aid the interactive Mobile Application Form.
The photography ranges from street photographs to detailed views of the interior
architecture elements and furniture, along with the various craft techniques. The
findings are recorded using the Form, and are immediately uploaded to dedicated
server in real time from the field. The process is significant as it involves
participation of the local people in gathering the data, and the process being
mobile-based makes it user friendly and inexpensive in operation. The simple
interface of the Form allows many more users from various fields to get involved
and contribute to the data collection, which can be validated by the experts.

Categorization and Inventory management: The Mapping produces

comprehensive information, which consists of Images and associated data. This
process uses Aggregate facility of the ODK, which helps manage the transferred
data and use them in an organised way. Once the mapping data gets transmitted
through the Mobile Application Form from the field, it gets delivered on to a
dedicated server and is stored there. The ODK Aggregate allows the stored data to
be displayed in a tabular form, and creates sections as per questions on the Form.
This facilitates the study and analysis of elements and buildings, either within a
single category or across various sections at the same time. ODK also enables the
researchers to form analytical charts or pie diagrams to understand the mapped
data. The dataset can be exported in the form of CSV files for spreadsheets or as
KML files for Google Earth or Google Map, to analyse and understand the amount of
data generated from the field work. This recordings could be also be transformed to
Google Fusion Tables and directly be published on external systems for public

Dissemination: The final data acts as the foundation for selection of the Traditional
or Vernacular Building for detailed documentation which in turn generated
Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP). Each image and its reference content are being
verified and uploaded on the Interactive Online Map. This data is also used to
generate an extensive Traditional Building Elements Catalogue (TBEC) which will be
a comprehensive set of images and associated data about the Interior Architecture
and Furniture Elements as well as objects and accessories associated with
traditional and vernacular buildings. The TBP, TBEC as well as Map will be part of
the Online Interactive Building Lab.Until recently, the inventories conducted for built
heritage have been very nominal in nature and completely overlook its
magnificence. These Traditional and Vernacular buildings are embedded with
empirical knowledge systems, which include an indigenous use of materials and
varied craft techniques. This imperative need of identifying and creating a detailed
inventory of the prime specimens of these buildings of India gave rise to the
Building Mapping project. The main intention is to create a comprehensive visual
data bank about the various Interior Architecture elements, Furniture, Objects and
Accessories as well as the Space Making Crafts (SMC) and Surface Narrative Crafts
(SNC) related to the Traditional and Vernacular Architecture of India. This data will
act as a valuable educational data to various students, craftspeople, educators,
design professionals, conservationist, and all those related to the field of Art, Craft,
Design and Architecture.

The Building Repository

The Building Repository contains the academic resources pertaining to
the Traditional and Vernacular Buildings (TVB) of India. These resources have been
generated through the multitude of activities conducted by Design Innovation and
Craft Resource Centre (DICRC), CEPT University, and would be beneficial to
Scholars,Researchers, Academicians, Craft Designers, Artisans Professionals and
Students. This repository would allow users to use the content in their research and
study of TVBs. The repository contains vast set of data in the form of talks,
presentations, kits, interactive sessions, site visits and images; and is beneficial as
it provides focused information on the TVBs.
radhakrishna research on traditional architecture