5 Housing and Architectural Styles in India

5 Housing and Architectural Styles in India

The term ‘shelter’ may mean different things for different people. For some, it may imply a simple roof over their heads to protect them from the rain, sun and wind, while for others it could be an expression of their taste for a more elaborate and luxurious abode that matches their social status. Either way, there is no doubt that the term refers to a physiological aspect of existence for all human beings and is best referred to as a ‘house’!

There isn’t one particular architectural style and design that can be regarded as specific to India. From the architecture of the great Indus Valley Civilization to the various religious, royal and colonial influences over the centuries, India is home to diverse architectural styles that have evolved with trends, cultures and requirements of specific time periods, resulting in myriad styles that came to become the norm of the time. More recently, to meet the growing demands of urbanization, India has witnessed massive developments in the fields of architecture and real estate construction.

The kind of dwelling one chooses to live in is determined by a variety of factors – social, environmental, physiological, cultural, financial, etc. Ranging from basic functional ones such as studio apartments to more elaborate luxury homes and modern apartment buildings, housing in India has evolved tremendously as income levels have risen. Here is a list of 5 housing and architectural styles that are seen most commonly in India:

Villas

Ranging from luxury villas to king size super luxurious ones, villas are mansions that are typically owned by the rich and the famous in India. They are modeled to be large, contemporary versions of traditional family homes. Offering immense privacy and designed to be self-sufficient, villas are spacious and cater to every materialistic desire, with a host of extravagant amenities such as lawns, swimming pools and sun decks, driveways and many more. Villas also offer the many advantages of scenic locations such as be beach-front, nestled amidst the woods, perched up in the hills, etc.

Bungalows

Bungalows are smaller, usually single-storied versions of villas. Made popular by the British in India who chose to make these dwellings their summer homes, the term itself is derived from the Indian word baṅglā and originated in Bengal. The colonial rulers in India later popularized the concept across Europe and America. The quintessential single-unit family homes, bungalows in India are more traditional in their style of construction and design and may be less luxurious and more functional than villas. They do however have provisions for spacious verandas and garden spaces, are built on independent land and offer the luxury to bask in nature’s full glory.

Apartments or Flats

Modern urban lifestyles have resulted in the emergence of nuclear family setups, which in turn have made way for smaller and more compact residential spaces. With people moving out of their traditional family homes and often out of their home towns, the need for a more stress-free form of housing that caters to the requirements of smaller families in a limited space, has resulted in the emergence of residential apartments. From studio apartments to those with 1, 2, 3, 4 or more bedrooms and penthouses, many upcoming projects these days focus on being self-contained and offer state-of-the-art conveniences and amenities to meet a variety of lifestyle needs and demographics.

Eco-friendly Homes

With increasing concern and awareness for the environment around us, many Indians are choosing to go back to their roots and live their lives in a sustainable manner. From choosing environmentally-friendly construction material to using renewable energy to run the property on a daily basis, people seek to build a sense of harmony between themselves and their surrounding environment. Sustainable buildings or homes can offer almost the same conveniences as other properties do; only in a greener manner. The use of clay instead of plaster, recycling of old wood, building large skylights to allow penetration of natural light or the optimum use of light, waste segregation, the use of solar panels, rainwater harvesting, etc. are just some of the countless ways in which homes can be made greener and more efficient.

Penthouses

The top-most floor of an apartment complex sometimes comprises of the penthouse in the building. Not all top-floor apartments are necessarily penthouses though, since the latter vary greatly in terms of their luxury features, build quality and facilities offered, as compared to regular apartments. Incredibly luxurious, penthouse offers sweeping views of the surrounding cityscape. They are typically characterized by build features such as high ceilings, private terraces, rooftop gardens and sometimes even private elevator access. Owing to their monetary value, penthouses are also customizable and single to a floor, turning them into exclusive havens of tranquility that offer plenty of privacy, natural light and ventilation.

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