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Villas in Kochi- The re- emergence of the interior courtyard

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Domestic architecture in Kerala has always been the architect’s fight to build a home that would protect the dweller against Nature’s elements. During the monsoon the downpour of rain as well as the errant lightning poses a threat to the framework of the house. When in summer, there arrives the conundrum of temperature control especially because Kerala’s coastal climate brings in severe humidity all year round. The traditional modes of architecture called for larger spaces and inner courtyards. With the onset of the real estate crunch and rapidly rising land prices, ancestral bungalows have been renovated and altered to accommodate a number of smaller villas instead.

Villas in Kochi have adopted from this smart style of architecture. While most homes are presently part of gated communities and mini- townships, Kochi has recently taken to deriving styles of building villas based on the ancient traditions that were followed in the state. Architects have taken into account the need for space while acknowledging its glaring absence in the lakhs of housing communities that have cropped up lately. But the inner courtyard has acquired celebrity status again and it becoming a recurring feature in villas in Kochi.

Constructed with skylights or sometimes even skipping a roofing option entirely and keeping it open to the sky, the interior courtyard is a rectangular structure that becomes the focal point of four adjoining halls within the villa. This helps to regulate temperature variations and facilitates better ventilation. The re- emergence of this feat of engineering has added to the aesthetic value of villas in Kochi and has made them more convenient living spaces.