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The Old Tower

Nidhi Patel

Dharmaj, Gujarat, India

"I love to walk on streets by old buildings rather than broaden roads"

About hundred years old, the structure depicts result of change in architectural design of dwellings in nineteenth and twentieth century in India. If we talk about the history of the Village, before independence it was ruled under Maharaja Sayajirao Gayakwad of Vadodara state. It's an ideal village to study pre-independence and post independence architecture. It is located 23 kms away from Gulf city of Khambhat.


From planning of the village to the minute details of the architectural elements everything is notable. The streets of the village slowly bifurcates from "Bhagor" - The starting point of the village. The khadki - entrance gate to the street welcomes guest and let them rest after a long journey during old days. The above building is named Old clock tower and is located in Athamni khadki.


The layer of experiences defines the character of this house/old clock tower as an entrance otla is used for various house hold works or gatherings at evenings, staircase in the corner of otla, a central room again opening onto otla with series of arches.The columns on otla act as physical barrier between street and built form but still  has the direct open connection with the street. A "Parsar" a room where usually a swing is hung in all Gujarati houses is just after Otla. This plan is followed above, eradicating some area for a sky light. The area below skylight is a "Chowkdi"- Utility area with natural lighting.

The older houses have sloping roofs while this house has a terrace. The house's veranda/otla(here) stops the direct sunlight creating a cool volume inside for the residents.Starting from the plinth level the floor area slightly drops at the first and second floor. The plan of the clock tower is square with three storey on which 10' tower rises up.Unlike today's planning the building totally in relation with the below street has veranda looking down on two sides and either sides of walls remain common with adjacent house. The vertical and horizontal scale of the building is concluded with post and lintel construction. Series of semi-circular arches are rested on Roman capitals. The horizontal section of the column has square base then square column upto 0.9m on which rests hexagonal shaped column of 0.6m followed by 1m of circular column.The size of the diameter of the column at two levels decreases, dividing the column into three parts.Thus, the residence is amalgamation of  Indian Vernacular planning and Roman architectural elements.

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