Learnings from Collective Housing in India

Aranya Community Housing / Vastu-Shilpa Consultants . Image Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum

In almost every Indian language, a colloquial term for “family” – ghar wale in Hindi, for example – literally translates to “the ones in (my) house”. Traditionally, Indian homes would shelter generations of a family together under one roof, forming close-knit neighborhoods of relatives and friends. The residential architecture was therefore influenced by the needs of the joint family system. Spaces for social interaction are pivotal in collective housing, apart from structures that adapt to the changing needs of each family. The nuanced relationship between culture, traditions, and architecture beautifully manifests in the spatial syntax of housing. 

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