Woodcraft of Kumaon
Collaborators - SpaceMatters, Aarohi, Alaap
Similar to many regions of our country, rich traditions of craft have been nurtured and developed in Kumaon as well. And like them, today these crafts are under threat due to lack of both patronage and raw material.
Kumaon has a distinctive style of architecture, evident in the scattered settlements of the higher Himalaya and populated agricultural valleys. It is found in the ancient temples, naulasbawaris (water tanks), forts and dharamshalas (inns). Most of the old houses too, have stone walls, mud floors, slate roofs and patangans (courtyards of gray stone) and their doors, windows and kholis (main entrance to the house) have intricate figures of gods and godessess. These building practices are in harmony with the hilly terrain and embody some of the inherent features of Kumaoni architecture.
Today, Kumaon is experiencing a surge in building and construction activity. Cities in environmentally sensitive zones like Almora, suffer from the concomitant ill effects of unplanned and rapid urbanization and haphazard development. Houses are a reflection of relationships between the people and their environment, and changing aspirations have made the traditional building concepts less viable.
This initiative is focused on bringing Kumaon into the 21st century without imperiling its heritage, drawing on the strengths of its existing knowledge systems and skills. KumaonBuild offers a forum to share technical and design innovation that is at the heart of such a marriage between the old and new.