Houses

Houses

Pilar, Goa, India

Housing

Pilar is located on Goa Island in the Taluka [administrative division] of Tiswadi and is connected to one of the territory’s main arteries north of Old Goa. It is a region with old population clusters and a strong Christian presence, with important churches and chapels. The densely settled village is surrounded by palm groves and rice paddies; its scattered buildings present diverse traditional architecture, which is undergoing changes and disappearing. Some old houses of dominant families nevertheless remain, absorbed by the dense growth of recent decades. Within the palm groves are the scattered houses representing traditional architecture, both Catholic and Hindu. They are typologically elementary, with hip or gable roofs and a porch. The side and back façades, despite the dry season, are completely covered by coconut palm frond mats (olas), hiding porches and the fragile rammed-earth walls and secondary frameworks supporting the olas. They are generically built of rammed-earth in the simpler cases and of laterite ashlars with hip roof and veranda along the façade in the more developed ones. Spatially they comprise one or two rooms separated by a partition of vegetal materials when the walls are rammed-earth and three rooms with central entry when the walls are laterite. The kitchen is in a corner with a ground oven to free up space. The floor is beaten earth, including the porches in both house types. In the most basic situations they only have a front door, though besides that they generally have one window per room under the porch cover as well as a back door. The WC is built apart from the house, sometimes behind the washing area associated to the kitchen. Some fruit trees, such as banana trees, surround the house, while kitchen gardens are located where the water is, sometimes far from the dwellings. The shade provided by large trees is a vital complement for the house and daily life, due to their exiguity. This territory undergoing rapid changes has seen cycles of abrupt transformations, with the first dwelling models influenced by aristocratic houses appearing from the 1930s to the 1950s. A new construction boom is currently under way, in hybrid styles and on a greater scale and intensity, disfiguring the place’s identity.

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