Vernacular architecture began to develop when inhabitants began building their own homes out of materials they could find nearby and customised to their requirements. As a direct reaction to societal demands, man was able to design climate-responsive buildings before architects. Despite the fact that modern constructions have shown to be perfectly ecological and energy-efficient, fundamental traditions that were once considered outdated and forgotten are regaining popularity. In the Uttarkashi District of the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Koti Banal is one of those numerous regional architectural styles that have endured.
The article will highlight the architectural style’s utilisation of regional materials, construction methods, key features and challenges style is facing in the modern society.
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A little village called Koti Banal may be found in the Uttarkashi District in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The area is renowned for the distinctive vernacular building style that it has been using for many generations to fulfil the demands of the local populace and make the most of the materials at hand. Local building materials and construction methods are used to produce the style, which represents the area’s traditional way of life. The Koti’s modest structures have endured earthquakes for about 900 years.
In Uttarkashi’s high altitude regions, where the temperature is severe and the terrain is difficult, the Koti Banal architectural style is usually seen. The structures are made to survive the severe winters and copious amounts of snowfall that are typical of this area. Also, they were constructed from wood, stone, and clay that were found nearby.
The Koti Banal vernacular architecture style is characterised by the use of locally available materials such stone, wood, and mud. The walls and foundation are made of stone, the roof is made of wood, and the plaster is made of mud. The dwellings are made by combining these components.
The usage of stone masonry is one of the characteristics of the Koti Banal style. The buildings’ walls are made of locally quarried stone and are designed to be durable and robust. The walls commonly look rustic and natural since the stones are typically rough-hewn. The buildings are kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter thanks to the excellent insulation that the stone walls offer.
The use of timber beams and rafters is a distinctive aspect of Koti Banal architecture. The timber rafters and beams used in the buildings’ post-and-beam construction provide structural support for the roof. Local hardwoods like deodar and pine, which are renowned for their sturdiness and endurance, are used to construct the beams and rafters. The buildings’ wooden parts are frequently ornately carved and decorated, which raises the design’s aesthetic value.
Slate, which is easily accessible in the area, is typically used for the roofing of Koti Banal buildings. The building is shielded from the elements by the watertight seal created by the rows of overlapping slate tiles. The roofs’ steep pitches are also intended to quickly remove snow, preventing it from building up and endangering the building.
Design and Construction Techniques
In Koti Banal, most houses are two-story constructions, with living quarters for people on the upper level and storage for animals on the lower level. The upper level is accessed via an external stairway that is typically adorned with spectacular carvings and embellishments. The Koti Banal homes include rectangular floor designs, enclosures, and central axes that are symmetrical.
Above the foundation, a raised masonry platform built of dry materials supports the building. Stone masonry walls that have been reinforced with wood using mortar produced from pulse paste are 50 to 60 cm thick and composed of stone masonry.
Connecting walls are situated along the narrower axis of the multi-family homes. These structures frequently rise between 7 and 12 metres. Among other distinctive characteristics, these structures have a straightforward design, a complex, large, and raised base, a few small window holes, and shear walls.
The building’s first level has just one modest entrance, and the few little windows to the south seem a touch claustrophobic. The building’s upper two stories are supported by a cantilevered flooring system made of wooden logs, which has balconies that go around the entire structure.
Koti Banal structures frequently have elaborate woodcarvings and murals. The religious and cultural themes are typically represented in the wood carvings on the doors and windows. The murals, which can be rather intricate and feature Hindu mythological themes or scenes from typical village life, are painted directly on the walls.
Key Features of Koti Banal
The Koti Banal vernacular architectural style is not just beautiful, but it also has a purpose. The residences are constructed with substantial stone walls that serve as insulation to keep the interiors at a reasonable temperature all year long. The use of natural materials reduces the carbon footprint of the dwellings, making them more environmentally friendly.
In conclusion, the vernacular Koti Banal architectural design is a distinctive and exquisite illustration of sustainable architecture. To conserve the region’s cultural legacy and encourage sustainable living habits that reflect the natural and cultural surroundings of the area, it is crucial to preserve this architectural style. There is still a great admiration for the Koti Banal style, and attempts are being made to preserve and promote it for future generations despite the fact that contemporary construction techniques and materials have started to supplant the ancient methods.