Climate Responsive Design for Comfortable Living in Warm-Humid Climate: The Need for a Comprehensive Investigation of Kerala Vernacular Architecture and its Present Status

By Dili A. s., Naseer M Abdurahman and T. Zacharia Varghese.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Kerala, the southern most state of India, which extends from 8°18’ to 12°48’’ N latitude, 74°52’ to 72°22’ E longitude, lying between the Arabian Sea on the West and the world famous Western Ghats with its ever green rain forests on the East has a characteristic Warm-Humid climate. The presence of high amount of moisture in the atmosphere for major part of the year causes thermal discomfort as there is less evaporation, resulting in sweating. This is more acute in summer when the air temperature is close to or higher than the body temperature. Climate responsive design is the one that would provide a comfortable indoor environment in response to the seasonal variations of the climate. The vernacular architecture of Kerala has evolved through ages where the climate has played a very important role. In the present context where energy efficient and sustainable buildings have become the order of the day, there is a need to revisit the vernacular architecture simply because they are time tested. Efforts have been made by many researchers worldwide to study vernacular architecture. This paper illustrates the dire need for a comprehensive investigation of Kerala vernacular architecture to understand the climate responsive design techniques used for comfortable indoor environment and some important findings reported so far.

Keywords: Kerala, Vernacular Architecture, Thermal Comfort, Energy Efficiency

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.29-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.041MB).

Dr. Dili A. s.

Research Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Calicut, Kerala, India

Mr. Dili A S is basically an architect, acquired his B. Arch Degree from University of Kerala and M. Tech Degree with specialisation in Building Technology and Construction Management from Indian institute of Technology Madras. He had been working as a faculty in the department of Architecture of TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, Kerala since 1998 to July 2007. Now, he is under deputation to pursue Ph. D programme at National Institute of Technology Calicut. His areas of interests include climate responsive architecture, passive environment control systems of vernacular buildings and thermal comfort.

Dr. Naseer M Abdurahman

Associate professor and Head, Department of Architecture, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Calicut, Kerala, India

Dr. Naseer M A is an Associate Professor at National Institute of Technology Calicut, India. He acquired his B. Tech (Architectural Engineering) degree from Regional Engineering College, Calicut, Kerala in 1991. He acquired his Master of City Planning and Ph. D degrees from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. His areas of interests include Climate Responsive Architecture and Sustainable Buildings, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems and Transportation Planning.

Dr. T. Zacharia Varghese

National Institute of Technology Calicut, Kerala, India

Dr. T. Zacharia Varghese is a Professor at National Institute of Technology Calicut, India. He acquired his BE (Civil Engineering) degree from PSG College of Technology Coimbatore in 1975, aslo he acquired his ME (structural Engineering) degree in 1978 from the same institution. He acquired his Ph. D degrees from Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 1990. His areas of interests include Cimte responsive buildings and Sustainable materials.

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