Though the modern architecture has taken more space, the city interiors still hold some historical architectural treasures that had relevance with the climate, geography and the people of the region.
On Architecture Day falling on July 1, Anadolu Agency takes a peek into the past architectural marvels of the region to understand its culture and history.
The era of architecture
Beginning from the Buddhist architecture in the form of monasteries and stupas in the 3rd Century AD, the Kashmir region witnessed different eras of architecture – the most popular being the vernacular and colonial architecture introduced by the British.
“In vernacular architecture, the structures were environment friendly and useful at the same time for the people living in such houses,” Ahad says.
He says the structures were completely made with wood and mud bricks and the rooftops were designed such that lilies and tulips would grow on them. current news
“Pleasant and soothing to the eye, these structures were resistant to earthquakes, and water seepage. These buildings were cool in summers and warm in winters,” Ahad mentions.
In 2009, an American architect and building conservationist, Randolph Langenbanch, while researching about the 2005 earthquake in India and Pakistan, came to the conclusion that there is a need to preserve the vernacular architecture of Kashmir as being earthquake-resistant.
In his book Don’t Tear It Down, he says the heritage buildings of Kashmir can become an armature on which to rebuild people’s pride of place after years of civil unrest.
The book documented an often ignored architectural heritage and construction tradition that has demonstrated a level of earthquake resistance which led experts to introduce these attributes into the Pakistani and Indian building codes in order to improve earthquake resistance in modern structures.
“Our ancestors built what was favourable within the local environment and geography, but unfortunately these marvels are lost now,” Ahad says.
He says these past building codes could have been considered in modern constructions. “We have lost an era of golden architecture.”