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CENTRE FOR INDIGENOUS BUILDING CRAFTS – Interpretation Of Kathkhuni Tradition In Shimla


Design Thesis aims to give a design proposal to revive/interpret a traditional building technique/the indigenous knowledge of the kathkhuni building craft in Shimla and in entire Himalayan belt. The Major issue is non-availability of the natural construction materials like wood, major one to build kathkhuni buildings. By reviving the building construction tradition which is disappearing due to rapid urbanization, the major focus is to understand the craft from it’s root level.The main users of this kind of center are the locals, the craftspersons who knows the craft from, the community of architects, builders & tourists.
The impact of this centre is to make the traditions alive with the modifications and to take the good strategies ahead.

The Centre For Himalayan Indigenous Building Crafts In A Region Like Himachal Pradesh, Which Serves As The Strong Essence Of It's Culture, Heritage, Beliefs, Rituals And Lifestyle Of A Region.The Type Of Architecture Is Very Vernacular. The Major Challenge In This Kind Of Dissertation Proposal Is To Integrate These Kind Of Vernacular Building Techniques In Modern Way, Within It's Scopes And Limitations, With The Use Of Locally Available Materials, Climate And The Generated Design Strategies Related To It, The Parameters Of Being Ecological And Sustainable. Wood, Stone, Mud, Grass. These Are Materials Used Since Time Immemorial To Create Vernacular Built Forms In India. But Nowadays, Some Of The Naturally And Locally Available Materials For Building Like Wood Is Not Available Because Of Rapid Urbanization And The Use Of Modern And Industrial Materials Like R.c.c., Which Harms The Nature Directly. The Traditional Way Of Construction Takes Longer Time To Build Your Shelter, However It Gives You More Comfort And A Very Cost-effective House. The Centre For Himalayan Indigenous Building Crafts In Shimla Based On Kath-khuni Construction Will Mainly Serve As A Learning Centre For Traditional Building Construction Techniques Which You Can Find In The Entire Himalayan Belt. Those Techniques Are Kathkhuni And Dhajji Construction Of Himachal Pradesh, Koti-banal Construction Of Uttarakhand And Taq Construction Of Kashmir. This Center Would Be Set Up On The Steep Contours And Slopes.

The design program mainly focuses on the transmission of the knowledge of kathkhuni building through training, giving hands on experiences on building and wooden carvings which is a major craft of Himachal, where the masons are the teachers and the locals and the community of architects,builders are the learners.Where the program also includes the recreational and cultural activities which will gather the local community and by that the transfer of knowledge happens by the informal discussions. The site is located in Ghanahatti in Shimla, which is 13 km away from core Shimla in a educational patch, where there were the proposals of different institutions are coming in near future. So, for the globalization of the craft the site is selected here.While designing there were major three challenges that to Understanding of the culture and lifestyle of Himachal, dealing with the steep contours and the major one is to deal with the construction technology. In which how are you going to alter or do modifications in kathkhuni by altering materials and using more local materials.The Design concept is the main understanding of settlement patterns in the villages of Shimla, the use of plinths, verendahs, the courtspaces where the temples are at the pick of the settlement, the typical pattern of streets and public spaces, the overlooking experience on the steep contours are major one.The centre is designed in such a way that gives you the transition from the past to it’s present.

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CENTRE FOR INDIGENOUS BUILDING CRAFTS – Interpretation Of Kathkhuni Tradition In Shimla Board
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Keyur Shah

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