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Government of Gujarat

The segment of Research and Analysis deals with performing a deeper investigation into the subject of traditional and vernacular buildings of India with respect to their architecture, interior architecture and furniture elements.The purpose of this segment is to generate an understanding on traditional and vernacular buildings through empirical knowledge; and to develop new perspectives on the subject so as to bring the  traditional knowledge and skills back to education and practice. The process of carrying out this research involves various stages such as desk research and on-field research, leading to a thorough inquiry into various tangible and intangible aspects of these buildings such as - the physical and socio-cultural context, building materials, construction techniques, craft techniques, ornamentation, etc. 

The outcomes of this segment include the Building Interactive Kit and the Traditional Building Element 
Manual (TBEM).

The Building Interactive kit is as an online educational application which aims at generating awareness regarding the traditional and vernacular buildings, and crafts of India. Developed by the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC) with the help of Knownsense Studios, the kit caters to the larger vision and intention of DICRC which is to develop educational material related to crafts in interior architecture. The outcome is intended to reach design professionals, conservationists, academicians, students as well as crafts people.  This standalone educational kit – first of its kind in India - is available online for free. The application provides a virtual tour around, and into selected traditional and vernacular buildings with the help of three dimensional (3D) computer modelling as well as a walkthrough within the interiors. By doing so, it presents the user with a holistic virtual experience of these buildings with respect to their context, architecture, interior architecture,  interior architecture elements and the crafts techniques incorporated in them ; all accompanied by informative text presenting the user with interesting facts about the building and its contents. The primary intention to develop this Building Interactive Kit is to bring the embedded knowledge about Indian Traditional and Vernacular Architecture and Craft back to education.
The Building Interactive kit is an outcome of two major activities of DICRC, which are mapping and documentation of traditional and vernacular buildings. The first activity – mapping, deals with identifying and recording various buildings across different regions of India. Of all the recorded buildings, a selected few are taken up for detailed documentation to generate a Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP).  The TBP comprises of detailed two dimensional (plan, section and elevation), three dimensional and exploded drawings of the architecture, interior architecture and furniture elements present in the selected house. With the kind of data bank it generates, the TBP acts as a foundation for the Building Interactive Kit.

The kit in itself involves research on three levels – exteriors of the building, its interior architecture and the furniture elements therein.  The information on the exteriors of the building helps in understanding the surrounding context; while the research on interior architecture deals with understanding various spaces within the house and their significance in the day to day life of its residents. The initial phase of research on the furniture involves short listing a few - out of the numerous - furniture pieces present in a particular house. These furniture pieces are selected on the basis of the opulence in ornamentation achieved by the use of various craft techniques.Thereafter, in order to present the user with a significant amount of information, the research revolves around various aspects of the selected furniture pieces such as - identification of the materials; desk research on identifying the components of the elements and craft techniques involved in creating them; and incorporating exploded views each furniture element in order to understand the assembly of the components present in it.

The first traditional house to be included in the Building Interactive Kit is located in Siddhpur, a small town situated in the Patan district of North Gujarat. It is one of the numerous traditional houses situated in the navi Bohra vaad of Siddhpur.

The Building Element Manual is a set of data generated by Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC) through the process of "Analysis and Interpretation” of the Elements (Interior Architecture elements and Furniture elements) of Traditional and Vernacular Buildings of India. The manual is created for each of the Interior Architecture Elements like wall, floor, ceiling, roof, door, window, column, bracket, stair, balcony and jharokha, parapets and railings, arches, entablature, etc. and Furniture Elements like wall unit, bed, table, storage, chair, sofa, bench, stool, partition, swing, etc. These elements, which are the key components of the heritage built environment are embedded with empirical knowledge of various crafts (Space Making Craft and Space Narrative Craft) and craft practices. They are created by master craftspeople/builders in specific time expressing the culture not only through its aesthetics but also through its form, dimensions, usage, articulation and process of making. The manual is developed through extensive discussions among the researchers of DICRC, Faculty members of CEPT University and experts from the field of Built Environment and Craft sector.

The Building Element Manual is a set of data generated by Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC) through the process of "Analysis and Interpretation” of the elements (Interior Architecture elements and Furniture elements) of traditional and vernacular buildings of India. The manual is created for each of the Interior Architecture elements like wall, floor, ceiling, roof, door, window, column, bracket, stair, balcony and jharokha, parapets and railings, arches, entablature, etc. and Furniture elements like wall unit, bed, table, storage, chair, sofa, bench, stool, partition, swing, etc. These elements which are the key components of the heritage built environment are embedded with empirical knowledge of various crafts (Space Making Craft and Space Narrative Craft) and craft practices. They are created by master craftspeople/builders in specific time expressing the culture not only through its aesthetics but also through its form, dimensions, usage, articulation and process of making. The manual is developed through extensive discussions among the researchers of DICRC, Faculty members of CEPT University and experts from the field of Built Environment and Craft sector.


The Building Elements Manual is an outcome of two major activities of DICRC, which are mapping and documentation of traditional and vernacular building. The first activity – mapping, deals with identifying and recording various buildings across different regions of India. Of all the recorded buildings, a selected few are taken up for detailed documentation to generate a Traditional Building Portfolio (TBP). The TBP comprises of detailed two dimensional (plan, section and elevation), three dimensional and exploded drawings of the architecture, interior architecture and furniture elements present in the selected house. TBP acts as a foundation for the manual to grow further in depth with a detailed set of analysis. Keeping in mind the Interior Architecture and Furniture Elements, researchers at DICRC developed Analysis Parameters: a framework through which different types and sub-types of elements and its components will be dissected and interpreted. These parameters are evolved through various discussion and trial-error methods of engagement and experimentation with each element.

Following are the Analysis Parameters:

1. Introduction

2. Component composition

3. Decoding structures

4. Material mapping

5. Technique mapping

6. Proportioning system

7. Function

8. Form articulation

9. Patterns and principle orders

10. Quantitative analysis

11. Contextualization

12. Ordering of connection

13. Features and highlights

The Building Elements Manual uses a method of Analysis which is one of the key processes of any creative discipline including Design and Architecture. The word ‘analysis’ comes from the Greek word ‘analusis’ which means ‘to break apart’ or ‘to unloose’. Analysis is a process of detailed examination by separating components or unloosing the constituents of the elements for its interpretation. The purpose of the analysis here is to understand the constituents and its working so that the embedded craft knowledge may be assimilated and acquired; it is not only meant for academic pursuit but also to develop a framework of ease for the imagination to work with. The manual also allows establishing the association and relationship of Craft (Space Making Craft and Space Narrative Craft) to Interior Architecture.

The outcome is intended to reach students, craftspeople, educators, design professionals, conservationist, and all those related to the field of Art, Craft, Design and Architecture to impact the way of thinking of an individual and society as a whole.

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