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Distinctive architectural styles were not designed by some famous ancient architect who decreed that a certain style will be used in Japan and a certain other style will be used in Peru and yet another style in Punjab. The upturned, horned roofs of buildings as found in Kerala, China and Japan arc the direct result of the people of those places making use of the most common, plentiful, useful material: bamboo— to house and protect them from natural enemies such as sun, rain, hurricanes and wind. A completely different set of styles has evolved in hot, dry, treeless, desert areas, as in parts of Egypt, Iran and India; in almost every district in the world these natural styles have grown to the patterns that could be seen in the first half of this century.

Our 'backward' ancestors had learned how to live with and cope with the problems of climate. They had teamed that a pitched or a sloping roof lessened the effects of all these hazards. They knew the movements of air currents and placed their wall openings almost at ground level. They knew that hot air rises and allowed it to travel upwards from the low eaves to the openings at the ends of the high ridge. They understood and applied principles of insulation; their roofing materials formed hollow cellular protective layers and their storage spaces provided insulation from the midday sun. They had understood that wall surfaces can absorb and retain just as much heat as a roof surface, so they kept these walls as small in area as possible and never left them unprotected. They knew that eye-strain from working out in the sun could be alleviated by rest in an area where glare was eliminated and they used smooth, hard, light-coloured surfaces sparingly and left the natural materials— wood, laterite, brick, stone— exposed. Their practical knowledge of the properties of these differing building materials was amazing. They knew, for instance, how to design their timber and wood work to avoid warping, twisting and cracking.

Village planning and site utilization were equally functional and delightfully simple. Usually there were rows (terraces) of houses all joined together with common dividing partition walls; sometimes when anywhere from three to ten or twelve brothers lived in such a row of houses, the front veranda was common to all. These multi-housed rows of dwellings were usually under one big long common roof. The row followed the contours wherever possible, and as a consequence was sometimes curved. The row of houses was usually sited to overlook the terraced fields below, to catch the sunshine, and to get protection from rain, snow and cold winds from the forest or steep hillside behind. The foundations were almost invariably built on stone straight off solid rock —a foundation of Mother Earth herself. Very rarely did the people use earth that could be terraced or cultivated, but they chose their building sites along rocks, ridges or spurs of the mountains where cultivation would be impossible. Their foundation problems were therefore nil, and the rock they quarried for building the foundation and basement walls was split or blasted out from the same bed rock on which they would build. I never saw any rubble being carried more than a hundred yards and, of course, it was all carried on someone's head.

The superstructure walls were also built of the same quarried-on-the spot stone. Sometimes it was big and square and chunky, in other places it was more like thick slate in large sheets or slabs only a few inches thick. And of course it was all built in mud mortar. The walls were heaped on the inside with mud, or mud and cow-dung, or lime mortar or plaster. Sometimes the outside-Was left as it was, or, sometimes, it too was treated with some sort of lime plaster. Doors and windows were often of delightfully shaped and simply carved woodwork using chir-pine or deodar, or occasionally some other local country wood such as tuni. But this timber was always found within a few hundred yards, or at most a mile or two, of the house being constructed.

The wood for the roofs was extravagantly lavish in size. Whole tree trunks were used for the ridge-pole and purlins and trusses. Again, all these roofing materials were close at hand. Occasionally a wealthier person would send a few miles for a thinner quality of slate which could be shaped and squared, but this was their form of showing off and was not a necessity and fortunately not often indulged in. This whole roof construction over the wall construction, was completely adequate to cope with the climatic extremes of heat and dryness in summer, with the violent rain storms, and with the (heavy snow in the winter.