Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Evolving house (s)

In the early stages of the city, housing units were built as approximations of what people were used to in their villages: single storey, walls common to two houses, tiled roof, a thinnai in front, the atrium-like centre courtyard... these were the design elements considered important by the 'natives'. The British, though, liked to have their gardens, didn't care too much for the tiles, had multiple levels in their houses, adapted the thinnai as a verandah... and that template was mimicked by even those Indians who made their fortune working with the Company.

Somewhere around the turn of the 20th century, the uppper middle class (was there such a demographic then?) probably tried to combine both worlds - that was probably the period when the single-storeyed row-houses added an additional floor, gave it a balcony and simulated the verandah, though at an elevated level. The house below seems to have gone a step further by pushing that design into the idea of a garden-house, coming up with a very nice adaptation. Though it looks like it could do with a coat of paint, the photograph does not do it justice - it is really nice and quaint, taking Dr. Alagappa Road back to the days when it was Ormes Road.

But look at the flats behind - the very latest stage in the evolution of residences, they still retain vestiges of the tiled roofs of the days past!


4 comments:

Jacob said...

Love this house...thanks for the commentary, too.

Shantaram said...

@ Jacob: Didn't mean to get the flats in the background - but they do make a nice contrast!

Lumbergh-in-training said...

Saar, i went to Purasawalkam today and saw this house. It looked majestic and stately even today... Not just that house, Purasawalkam's Alagappa Road and Raja Annamalai Road have one house each for each scion of the M.Ct.M family. My jaws dropped to the floor (in realityonly as much my body permitted), and literally took my breath away when I saw each house! Each must've been built on one acre!!

I really wish I could own a house like that in that place...

Shantaram said...

@ L-I-T: Isn't it lovely to actually notice some of these houses? Too often, we just zip past!