Modern-Vernacular Fusion: A Case of Wada Architecture in Pune

The city of Pune is widely known for its cultural and institutional diversity. It is the second-largest city in Maharashtra state, after Mumbai, and eighth-most populous city of the country. The city offers variants of architecture styles co-existing efficiently and one of these is Wada architecture. This article highlights the importance of traditional Wada culture and its adaptation to the new trends of Pune.

Poona settlement originated in 937 BCE, as a part of Rashtrakuta dynasty. It has been under the rule of several emperors. The most impactful and transformative period for this settlement was sixteenth century onwards, during the rule of Maratha dynasty. That’s when Wada culture was introduced to the region. A Wada can be described as the smallest unit of a neighbourhood planning system. It demarcates the residential structures. This building concept originated in parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra to combat with harsh climatic conditions that prevail in the region. A typical Wada is designed to accommodate three zones which are public, semi-public and private. These zones are bound together with provision of a courtyard which serves two purposes – buffer and passive cooling promotion. Usually, a Wada comprises of two courtyards providing ample space for cross-ventilation and natural light to all the rooms.

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Batesar Temple Complex: The Surprise of Chambal

A Hanuman idol in Batesar Temple Complex.

Before visiting Morena, I had a frightening image of the ravines of Chambal. Originally this image has been propagated by Indian cinema and the advice not to travel after sunset is passed as the standard antidote. This instruction was also taken full care of. But this journey provided me with a golden opportunity to get to know and feel the life that is bursting in the rugged terrain of Chambal. After discussing the past and present conditions with the local people, it was concluded that the difficult phase has passed and now the situation has become normal. However, the gun culture in the area is still alive today. People openly carry a gun with them. Due to government efforts, ravines have been made cultivable to a great extent, in which the growing crops are increasing the prosperity of the area. This visit not only cleared the misconceptions about the ravines but also introduced me to the beauty and grandeur of the great temples like Batesar, Mitavali, and Kakanamath. I am accompanied by Neeraj on this journey. In this part of the travelogue, we will visit the Batesar temple complex.

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Gateway To Nagaland

To Tree Or Not To Tree

The older trees that have become huge impressive entities on the street was planted when width and uses of the street were very different. They are now found in the middle of the road, very likely to get cut as they poses problem to the growing traffic of Ahmedabad. They present a challenge for design of the public realm.
Note: There are many instances where design appears to fail, where people through their use or behaviour subvert or reject design intentions, in the public realm that remains in plain sight and goes unnoticed by most of us in everyday life. This study revolves around and maps out instances where trees become the anchor point to interpret the correlation between the design intentions and behaviour of various users of public spaces. The study focused on the 3 km stretch from University Road to Navrangpura Gam in Ahmedabad.

Trees in the city play an important role, they are widely distributed from the middle of the road, on the pavement, in between the boundary walls. They are living landmarks that define space, contribute to air quality, and connect us to nature. Despite their ubiquity, most of us take trees for granted and know little of their civic virtues. The photo essay looks at the problems and possibilities of the trees in structuring the public realm of a street. In what way they are considered a liability by the designer while an opportunity, to inhabit, appropriate and exploit spaces they create, by the users in various ways. Continue reading “To Tree Or Not To Tree”

Save The Neck!

Save the neck! Todas are tribal people in Ootacamund who still follow their culture in a more sacred way but live as poor as a church mouse. Their pragmatic way of building their huts with eco-friendly material withstands even the harsh and torrid cold winds of the Nilgiri mountains. Todas are melodious singers and poets too. It is said they were the first people to settle Ooty before British. Their villages were called Munds, hence the name Ootacamund and later Ooty. Now their culture and living are witnessing ruination due to lodging settlements. We must all go for the broke before it's all lost if we want to save. #urbanprecis #sustainability #society #culture #tradition #vernacular #origins #India #urban #ooty Photo – Sarojini Sampath (@sarojini_sampath)

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