Old homes of Kashmir’s cold valley
- March 15, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Old homes of Kashmir’s cold valley
Context: The old houses of the Kashmir Valley are living examples of climate-resilient and sustainable architecture.
More on the News:
- Kashmir’s architecture evolved in response to the Valley’s climate, including addressing harsh winter periods.
- Houses were built in such a way that they responded both to climate and the availability of materials.
- Houses were built with a wooden framework and walls were made of mud and clay, insulating them from the cold and regulating the temperature inside the house. The mud has the best heat retention capacity and that is the reason why rooms that are plastered with mud feel warm in harsh winters.
- Kashmir is recognised as a zone for high tectonic activities and prone to high intensity earthquakes. The two major techniques of construction – taaq and dhajji dewari – withstood disasters including high intensity earthquakes.
- A section of house-owners and architectural experts says modern construction and design does not factor in local climatic conditions.
- However, traditional structures for insulation and air flow can easily be replicated in new constructions based on contemporary design and modern aesthetics.
TAQ SYSTEM OF CONSTRUCTION
In taq system of construction there is a bearing wall construction with horizontal timber lasing embedded into masonary. In taq system of construction horizontal timbers are embedded in the masonary walls at each floor level and window lintel level. Taq construction is a bearing wall masonry construction with horizontal timber lacing embedded into the masonry to keep it from spreading and cracking. In taq system , there is a construction of masonary piers of size 1-2 feet square and the window bay (taqshe) 3-4 feetin width. From this the size of the traditional kashmiri house can be depicted as of 3 taq (window bay) to 13 taq in width. . The masonry piers are thick enough to carry the vertical loads, and the bays may either contain a window, or a thinner masonry wall as required by the floor plan and the building’s orientation In taq system of construction the different construction elements are arranged with a modular layout of masonary piers and window bays tied together just like ladder like construction, as timber is used at each floor level and window lintel level in which masonary is embedded. A combination of wood and unreinforced masonry laid on weak mortar gave [taq] buildings the required flexibility. The wooden bands tied the mud mortar walls and imparted ductility to an otherwise brittle structure. An important factor in the structural integrity of taq is that the full weight of the masonry is allowed to bear on the timbers, thus holding them in place, while the timbers in turn keep the masonry from spreading. The spreading forces can result over time from differential settlement – or in an instant in an earthquake. The overburden weight of the masonry in which the timbers are embedded serves to “pre-stress” the wall, contributing to its resistance to lateral forces.
DHAJJI-DEWARI SYSTEM OF CONSTRUCTION
Dhajji dewari is a timber frame into which one layer of masonry is tightly packed to form a wall, resulting in a continuous wall membrane of wood and masonry. In Dhajji-Dewari system of construction there is a wooden frame which is filled with masonary. The wooden members used here can be imparted horizontally, vertically or inclined into the masonary wall. These wooden members divides the masonary wall, so that the crack does not propagate to the whole wall and ultimately imparts strength to the masonary wall. Dhajjidewari is a variation of a mixed timber and masonry construction type found around the world in one form or another, both in earthquake and non-earthquake areas. While earthquakes may have contributed to its continued use in earthquake areas, timber and masonry infill frame construction probably evolved primarily because of its economic and efficient use of materials. The term dhajjidewari comes from the Persian and literally means “patchwork quilt wall”, which is an appropriate description for the construction to which it refers. The Persian name may provide a clue to Persian influence in the origins of this system of construction. It is also very similar to Turkish hımış construction, which was also common beyond the boundaries of Turkey, perhaps in part because of the widespread influence of the Ottoman Empire. Dhajjidewari consists of a complete timber frame that is integral with the masonry, which fills in the openings in the frame to form walls.