Thursday, October 16, 2014

Architectural hike

By Chhanya Nidal

It is always fun travelling to different places. But the tour becomes more meaningful and fascinating when you are a student of Architecture. The way is entirely different, how an architect and a common traveler perceive the same place. A commoner sees the houses and passes away but when it comes to the student of architecture, it’s different. Besides catching the house he can feel that house, the people, their social status, culture, and religion, the architecture of the building, its beauty, utility and construction.

This photograph was taken when we were doing Conservation Studio in fifth year at Sankhu (Kathmandu, Nepal) during B.Arch. By the end of the week, we team member went for a hike toward Bajrayogini and hill above, toward Manichund.
In between, there is a community of Tamang people (one of ethnic group of Nepal). Their houses are constructed with stones, brick and wood. Stone is predominantly used in their house architecture since it is locally available from the hill nearby.
Being agricultural based community they have lot of land in between and the settlement is scattered. Another important aspect of this settlement is the orientation of house.

The usable space of their house are the front court and the balcony which are used for hanging maize and drying grains. And these spaces are oriented toward south so that sun stays longer. The front court is the important part of the house since all the daily, social and professional activities (weaving basket) are done on the court at front. I felt this might be the point of departure for Architecture when you design a house for these community.

And then, the hike continued with architectural discussion of these communities, blank wall on North with small opening, open court and balcony on south, their settlement pattern, the spaces they need for their daily activities, the way how the climate has guided their architecture and so on..
Beside just a visit, we again started the architectural analysis of the building and the hike became an architectural hike. And I feel it’s always fun travelling when you travel like an architect.

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