Social media intern Emma writes about architecture in Bardoli.
As someone who has recently developed an interest in architecture, being in India has opened my eyes to many unique building styles. Architecture can be used as propaganda, or a symbol of status, or a tribute to culture. To quote my art history professor, “a residence is a construction of identity, with a message to convey.” The styles here are unlike any of the styles that I have studied, and are diverse with many variations. There are rows of houses complete with ornate fixings and gold detailing. These elements are impressive and immediately drew my eye. Although the styles may be different from what I’m used to, it is still clear how the details like gold and other designs are used here to show higher status.
Ever since we spent a weekend in Mumbai, I’ve been struck by the juxtaposition of these well-maintained and decorated homes with humble structures that are used as living areas, made of tarps, sticks, and other random materials. This contrast makes the extravagant details of the richer houses pop, while making the other structures seem even more modest. I have no idea what the day to day lives of the owners of these residences are like, but their homes project a certain idea of their identity. I’d imagine the owners of the more decorated homes are the well dressed business men that I’ve seen driving their nice cars through the streets or working in the more expensive shops. The owners of the other structures are more difficult to place. I do not mean to make presumptions or judge these books by their covers, but trying to decipher the messages hidden by these elements of these residences is immensely interesting to me and I hope will better help me understand some aspects of Indian culture.
I have tried to do some research on the architecture here and what it takes its influence from. I could not find much information, but the houses seem to be structured to best suit the lifestyle and atmosphere here. Most have a bottom floor that opens to the outdoors, or at least one porch to be used to escape the stuffy heat. The styles could be inspired by some of the many old Gujarati buildings that are famous for their beautiful architecture, and are still popular tourist destinations today. Elements of modern architecture blend with these old inspirations to create unique and beautiful buildings all over Gujarat. Color is used as a more modern twist to spice up the architectural style used in Bardoli. Overall, I’d say the style here shows an appreciation for history and culture, while also displaying the ability to mix with current ideals of beauty and space.