Microclimatic and Culture-specific Adaptations of Building Forms in Gujarat: From the Indus Valley to Modernism

By S. Ghosh, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Shreyas Panambur and Arkayan Samaddar.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Building forms have evolved through microclimatic adaptations. The torrid heat of the tropics with its blinding light is very different to the diffusion of mellow light around comparable structures in the mid-latitudes. Cultural adaptations have been tangibly perceived by architects all across the world. It has ushered in eclecticism in the application of technology and knowledge, most lucidly so in the realm of the built environment. Traditional compartmentalization disappeared altogether as engineers and architects commingled. In this study, we freely use design concepts embedded in software like Ecotect Analysis, to clearly demarcate the active and passive zones through heat and mass transfer calculations. These pathways are complemented by real life photography to study light and shadows in Gujarat’s architecture spanning three millennia—from Lothal (part of the Indus Valley Civilization) to modern buildings. Gujarat is a seat of many cultural upheavals, unleashing a plethora of forms and rhythms. For example, the Muslims, Parsees and Bohras who settled in various parts of Gujarat adopted the ‘Dandak’ house forms, unique to this part of the world. Modernism took a foothold after the Europeans arrived on her shores. We study the evolution of these myriad forms from the point of view of energy flows around built structures. We believe this analysis will inform landscape architects and town planners worldwide.

Keywords: Indus Valley, Microclimate, Active and Passive Zones, Ecotect Analysis

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.81-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.668MB).

Prof. S. Ghosh

Senior Professor, School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Dr. Sat Ghosh is currently Senior Professor, Environment Division, School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, VIT University, India. He is also an Associate Member of the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, U.K. He currently works on how different tropospheric aerosols such as sea-salt, sulphate aerosol, and biomass aerosol interact with clouds. He has worked for 20 years in leading British Universities in many branches of atmospheric science. Dr. Ghosh has also worked extensively on the effect of pollutants on stratocumulus clouds at UMIST, Manchester. A substantial part of his post-doctoral research was undertaken at Cambridge University, England, where he worked on particle-turbulence interactions, stratospheric dynamics and microphysics. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed international journals in many areas of the atmospheric sciences. He has travelled extensively worldwide to present his research, and he referees articles for leading international journals. Currently, he is on the editorial board of the journal Atmospheric Science Letters published by the Royal Meteorological Society, U.K. He is an awardee of the Prestigious National Science Talent Search Scholar (All India Rank 32).

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Research Student, School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a final year student in the B.Tech Mechanical Engineering program at the Vellore Institute of Technology. He is currently doing a project entitled "The Essence of Energy Efficiency in the Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization and the Lessons Learnt." He has been awarded a fully funded scholarship for graduate study in Solid and Fluid Mechanics in TU Delft, The Netherlands. He is also a professional photographer and his works have found place in the public fora.

Shreyas Panambur

Research Student, School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Shreyas Panambur is a final year student in the B.Tech Mechanical Engineering program at Vellore Institute of Technology. He is currently doing a project entitled "The Essence of Energy Efficiency in the Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization and the Lessons Learnt." He has been admitted for graduate study in Sustainable Energy Technology in TU Delft, The Netherlands. He is also a professional photographer and his works have found place in public fora. He has been involved in various projects with companies including JCB, Larson and Toubro in India and Sandvik in Finland.

Arkayan Samaddar

Research Student, School of Mechanical and Building Sciences, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Arkayan Samaddar is a third year mechanical engineering student at VIT University. He is working on a research project with Prof S. Ghosh on Large Eddy Simulations of Turbulent Boundary Layers. He has also worked on Environmental Impact Analysis on large scale constructions. He has presented his research, on the Environmental Impact of high speed trains in India, at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.