Longitudinally aligned row houses can tackle space constraints in congested cities, but then, how do you tackle ventilation concerns in a row house? Yesteryear architects have already solved the problem for us, as this almost-a-century old row house in Kulithalai demonstrates.

So what if your house shares wall space at the sides with neighbouring houses; you can still have windows — at the top. The trick is to have a raised ceiling.

In this house, four beautiful teak wood pillars support the lower levels of the ceiling towards the periphery, while towards the centre of the house, the ceiling height has been raised to an amazing 22 feet. Here, you see windows all along the top portions of the walls that reach up to the central high-ceiling area of the house. These windows open out into the terrace that lies over the low ceiling peripheral areas of the house, so you get a great breeze inside the house, even as the huge ceiling space cools the house internally. Advocate S. Krishnaswamy, who owns this house, has added an office space in the front area of the terrace; so now, the terrace space is in more effective use too.