Proença House

Proença House

Calangute, Goa, India


The Proença House in Calangute is overall an interesting case of the two-storey main façade typology with the main floor marked by a sequence of full-length windows, in line with an old Portuguese manor house tradition diluted in the 19th century by Hindu domestic architecture traditions wherein only one raised floor was built. While such features allow us to situate this building’s construction in the 18th century, its morphology also presents a rare veranda in turret form with a hip roof backing onto the main façade. The first floor is louvered; the turret’s foundation also bears interesting column bases of Manueline design, suggesting the existence of an initial tower later converted into a veranda, as well as the influence of models linked to the bygone palaces of the Portuguese nobility. The entrance is located in the centre of the façade and gives access via a corridor to an interior patio where staircases lead up to the main floor. The single starting section of these staircases divides symmetrically into two – a clearly baroque feature. The structure of these stairs incorporates in turn a large porch borne on elegant octagonal columns with Tuscan capitals. The porch’s upper landing forms a gallery accessing the salons and furnished with running benches. All this semi-open space allows air to circulate freely – a sophisticated adjustment to India’s hot humid climate. The building’s interior is also marked by a rare and especially erudite layout with a symmetrical rectangular programme around the central patio, in which the spaces and door and window designs are rigorously alike. The building makes an accommodation with Hindu house traditions. It comprises a ground floor marked in the centre by the traditional long narrow vasary dining room which was the focus of the house’s daily life, supported by service spaces also located on the ground floor; the main floor’s rooms were used for special representative situations. Overall, the Proença House in Calangute reveals in its two-storey façade and elaborate architectural design a mansion model implemented by the Portuguese in which minor variations fittingly adjusted it to the climate and customs of the major Goan Brahmin and Chardo families.

Helder Carita