A traditional courtyard house in a village in Kerala is known as “Puthupparambil”. It has very compacted rooms whose walls are painted with lime. Jack wood is used in the ceiling and doors which are just the right height to let people walk underneath. There is an open courtyard in the centre measuring ten by ten feet. Air, light and rain can enter the house through this. A hanging cot or thookukattil in the open living area is there for any Visitor to rock in them and even to mediate. It imparts a homely feeling.
The form of a house depends upon parameters like scale, climate and so on along with other elements like technology, colour and materials. A building is commonly designed on the basis of two fundamental design parameters like function and form. Function talks about the usefulness of the building, whereas Form means the way it appears.
One of the rules is to select the correct form for the house for which one of the parameters is scale. This is described as the dimensional relationship of the human body with the space and things it comes in touch with. It is a tool of ideas used by Architects and Designers in designing the building and other kind of built spaces.
A house and its inner space look more intimidating and less intimate with a higher scale and more humane, when the space are scaled down from being big to the optimum level. This factor has an important part to play in giving character to any space. A living room may look like a hotel lobby and a bedroom a dormitory when the scale is not right.
Houses need to be humanised by bringing the functionality of the house down as much as possible and this is one of the chief rules followed by Ancient Master Designers. All that is avoidable should be discarded.
A house becomes part of its surroundings fully. The entire property occupied by the house forms the house or true habitat. That is the most humanised kind of house. The physical form of our living spaces has a lot to do with the climate such as a typical village life in India. A Villager’s house is a part of the Environment used for his everyday life. The property may also have a well, a cowshed, a front side and back yard. In the front yard will be platform built for guests. Vegetables will be grown, dishes washed and grains dried in the side and rear yard.
Besides, the principles used in planning the buildings and the materials used for building are also important in humanising our houses. The use of heat retaining materials like concrete and glass if reduced, and use of natural material like bricks, wood and terracotta if increased, will serve to make our houses more humane.
As our nation is going through an energy crisis, it is important to reduce energy consumption brought about through artificial air conditioning and lighting systems. It can be done by joining the rooms with internal courtyards and gardens and outer open space. With Indian’s tropical climate, one can make the best use of a planning style known as open architecture. The rooms should be planned in such a way that they are well lit and airy.Materials that are available locally are cheaper than glass and aluminum imported from Belgium and Australia.
Our living spaces should be humanized to the greatest extent possible. This helps in integrating ourselves mentally and physically with our environment.The use of glass in your house can trap heat inside the house on account of the “Green House Effect’. Using eco-friendly materials gives a feeling of physical and mental well being. Colours of the house should not be chosen arbitrarily as they affect one’s moods. They should spend sufficient time with their Architect, to explain the kind of house that they want. Use art to make you relate better to your home as you can be passionate about it. For humanising your house the architecture has to be done with heart.