LIFE

Building a love for tradition

Ethnic chic is the in thing.

Ethnic chic is the in thing.  

THE TILED roof, the verandah and the courtyard are back in vogue. So are ornate pillars, columns, carved ceilings and arches. Traditional architectural styles are making a strong comeback as new housing designs reflect the back-to-the-roots trend.

Builders are experimenting with a range of new designs and materials. A large number of the new houses in the city today are a mix of the traditional and the modern. Much of the recent design trends are not merely cosmetic; functional utility is as important as aesthetics.

The changes extend to the interiors as well, where the furniture, paintings and wall finishes are carefully chosen to lend a touch of the traditional. "Traditional architecture has received a strong impetus in the recent years,'' says B.Arjunan, an architect who specialises in Vastu Sastra.

``The design of a house should follow several parameters including eco-sensitivity, aesthetics and energy fields. The idea is to set up a resonance and create harmony between the house and its occupants,'' he says.

Architects aver that the sloping, tiled roof has become popular for the simple reason that it is aesthetically more pleasing than a flat roof. "Another advantage is that a tiled roof does not radiate as much heat and so the interiors are cooler in summer,'' says an engineer.

Gables with ornate carvings lend a touch of elegance to a tiled roof. Skilled carpenters are employed for the carving work. Wooden panelling, pillars and carved ceilings are the in thing but only for those who can afford it.

The humble staircase railing is one fixture which has undergone a drastic design change over the years. Cemented columns are out of fashion; today it is either carved wooden columns or intricately designed cast iron pillars which are used as railings. Graceful arches and stately pillars which reflect the colonial style of architecture have become a permanent element of modern housing design. So has the verandah extending around the structure. Trends in flooring also reflect changing consumer tastes. Mosaic is out, while marble and granite are the favoured options. The latest trend in indoor flooring is vitrified bone. Exterior tiles for car sheds and porches have also become popular.

Builders aver that many clients demand traditional terracotta tiles or red oxide for flooring.

"Colour oxides and terracotta tiles available in the market suffer from quality problems. Maintenance poses another problem,'' says an architect.

Gambles and tiles have their practical advantages.

Gambles and tiles have their practical advantages.  

Builders have also taken to cast iron fixtures available for various purposes including gates, grilles, railings and "jaalis''. Cast iron is less corrosive and enhances appearance.

Builders have come up with viable alternatives for clients on a tight budget.

With the right finish, concrete panelling, sunshade brackets, slats and even pillars can be made to look like wood.

Interior decoration has also undergone radical changes to reflect traditional styles.

Curtains, furniture, almirahs and paintings are carefully chosen to add a trace of old world charm.

By Nandakumar T

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