Complied by Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy the architect
A home built in 1925 located in Arangottukara village, in the borders of the districts of Thrissur and Palakkad, Kerala, gets a fresh lease of life after 90 years in 2014, under the aegis of Dr. Harimohan Pillai, principal architect, Archiestudio. IAnD captures the process behind the restoration of this vernacular structure that was completed in 2014…
The Chakkali Puthen Madom household is one among the many homes (ranging from 50 to 200 years old) that has sheltered generations and lies across the borders of Thrissur and Palakkad districts in Kerala; built by traditional architects called ‘thacchans’. Partially due to a cultural shift with the dissolution of the joint-family structure; and partially due to people seeking jobs abroad, the majority of houses have become decrepit, left in charge of caretakers with occasional nostalgic visits by the homeowners.
Reiterating a usually forgotten gem of life, Dr. Harimohan says, “Architecture is shelter, humans make for themselves, to spend a lifetime, but architecture transcends time allotted to the humans who make them.” A simple reminder that homes must be restored so that the past can live on through them and become a valuable heritage those future generations can inherit and be proud of.
Changing ownership after 30 odd years, Maddom’s new iteration clearly spelled “where the old ends, the new should begin… seamlessly” The deteriorating leaking roof, termite-infested walls, cracks and sedimentation; and empty voids that cried out for attention... have been painstakingly and discerningly rectified.
Beginning by digging to observe the 100 year old foundation, and sorting out dismantled material for re-use, a new block has been added to the existing structure. Pillars are redone especially near the entrance; new vents added to bathroom spaces; fresh brick masonry partitions erected; old timber floors given a fresh look with rustic tile finish; the balcony gets a seating and a new balustrade while the kitchen is completely redone with modern amenities albeit within a traditional mould just as the rest of the entire home has been restored to its former glory – allowing the new to embrace and co-exist harmoniously with the old.
|Reconstructing the parapet|
|Rooftop of renewed traditional paddipura entrance|
|Traditional Sopanam for entrances by Sthapati|
The redefined Madom house has now welcomed her new owner, Rajmohan Krishnan, retaining the old world charm yet ushering in modern amenities thereby transforming it into a holiday home cum ayurvedic treatment centre, as he desired.