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Typology & Mapping of

Housing Zones
Book Review by:
VII Sem Sec D
Typology is the art and science
of studying types.

About the book

The book deals with the study
of house typology in the
western arid zone of India,
i.e some districts of Rajasthan
and the state of Gujarat with the
help of case studies.

Rajasthan Bikaner, Jaisalmer,

Gujarat Kutch, Banaskantha

Houses in these desert areas bear several similarities in their forms,
construction methods, irrespective of their geographic location, but undergo
subtle variations due to factors like:

- Regional characteristics

- Micro climate patterns

- Cultural Differences

- Population & Type of community

- Human factors

- Available materials

-Techniques and skills

- Living patterns

The western arid zone of India experiences:

Hotter climate,
Dryness and Drought
Scanty rainfall
Lack of vegetation
More dominating action of dusty wind with varying directions.

Therefore variations are observed in the house forms like:

No openings for the built spaces except the door openings
Large central courts for more light and ventilation surrounded by rooms.

Occupational patterns and skills of people played an important role in the
form determination process of their vernacular style houses.

Places were people had greater skills and craft capabilities, built better
and beautifully decorated dwellings.
Outdoor spaces were widely used in the entire arid zone belt but the
manner of use and its making differed from region to region depending
on the culture, the people and their occupations.

Availability of natural materials for construction was affected by regional
Easy access to stone and wood got reflected in the buildings of that region,
otherwise mud continued to be a prominent materal, being easy to handle.

In plains, rectangular, gable roofed units were found. Walls of clay or brick,
roofs covered with weeds, grass, leaves and stone slabs were stone was
easily available.
Whereas, villages in arid region had irregular shaped clusters and streets
with conical huts having thatched roofs supported on mud walls. Logs of
wood were used as columns to support large projections of the roof.

Transportation and road-link systems largely affected the availability of
new materials like cement, bricks etc. This could be seen from the
differences in house forms and materials used in villages near road and
away from roads.

Larger villages, toward the center, showed more of an organized pattern
with regular streets. Whereas, some were irregularly shaped clusters with
unplanned streets.

Peoples participation in their house building as well as planning process
was considered very important. All the house forms in these regions were
closely linked with the life-styles of people as it was not desirable to plan
for them in isolation.

House Typology
Four types of houses identified according to the plan forms are:

Type P: Houses with parallel walls, open courts within, constructed with stone
or wood or brick with stone or country tiled pitched roof. E.g. Houses of
Bikaner, Barmer

Type C: Rooms with circular walls built around an open court, rectangular
room built as a kitchen or store room made out of mud and thatched roof.
E.g. Houses of Kuran, Dinara.

Type R: Rectangular walls as major spaces, one room with a circular wall as
service, space built around an open court and constructed out of stone or
brick and pitched tiles or with flat stone roof. E.g. Houses of Luni, Nokha

Type RC: Combination of rectangular walled rooms and circular walled
rooms, constructed around a courtyard of stone, brick and mud walls and
with a pitched tile or thatched roof. E.g. Houses of Mangta, Palana
Case Study
Amarurams House Pugal, Bikaner
Bikaner District
Situated on the north of Jaisalmer, forming the topmost portion of the
western arid zone.

Has the maximum density of houses.

Is made mainly of sandy soils with sand dunes and rocky hills, not very
fertile soil, very little vegetation and also experiences heavy sand storms
forming very high dunes.

In semi-urban set up of town or city of Bikaner, houses are generally made
of stone or mud, with houses densely packed and area per house is leass
than that of a village. Construction is mainly load bearing with stones either
dressed or randomly placed.
Whereas, in villages, mud is the predominant material for construction and
availability of land is more.

1m high thorny hedges are used to demarcate the boundaries of plots, to
keep away desert creatures and to stop the blow of sand.

Amarurams House Pugal, Bikaner
House is organized around a
central court which occupies 50%
of the house area and is the main
source of light and ventilation.

Rectangular living room, cooking
spaces, circular mud store, all linked
by a compound wall, encloses the

Built spaces are devoid of openings
except the doors.

Also has 5cm high mud base with
3 holes, serving as temple and
storage place for water.

Devoid of decorations.
Conical mud roof
Brick walls
Flat stone slabs
Construction & Technology
Followed rural vernacular architecture with locally available materials and
traditional building techniques.

Houses are self built with very little use of machines.

Single floor constructions were applied, except in towns where 2-3 storeyed
buildings were seen.

Used simple and direct joinery details.

Wood used was left in its natural state. Mud was usually used as the
covering material.
This house belongs to Type P, i.e houses
with parallel walls, open courts within,
constructed of stone, brick with stone slab
pitched roof.

Faade Typology: Street faade is very
important as its the only faade seen.

Zarookhas, which are intricately carved
projections on doors provides an ideal
design solution for arid climate and
narrow streets.

Brass utensils for storing water is an
important belonging and is proudly
exhibited in the house.

The process of form crystallisation has a strong contextual validity.
Any external intervention can lead to incongrous and unsuitable changes.

Therefore it is important to retain the typicality of houses region wise. Also,
improvement in certain areas of dwelling units can be considered and the
optimum use of local skills and crafts is necessary.

The role of modernisation and advancement has to be respected too
along with tradition and regional context.

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