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Sustaining Traditionalism: an investigation into the vernacular transformation of the Khasi tribal houses of Sylhet

Nadia Monzur (Department of Architecture, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Rajshahi, Bangladesh)
Md Rafsun Jany (Department of Architecture, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Rajshahi, Bangladesh)

Archnet-IJAR

ISSN: 2631-6862

Article publication date: 9 December 2022

21

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims at understanding the reasons causing the decline in the practice of traditional, regional architectural methods of creating house forms in the Khasia Punji at Jaflong, Sylhet area.

Design/methodology/approach

Two main types of traditional and modern house forms were identified and studied in order to document and analyze the aspects of changes in the construction method and material uses, while the interviews together with observational, qualitative and descriptive study formed an insight into the changing socio-cultural dynamics and evolving lifestyle of the tribe. Apart from physical surveys, the primary data on settlement patterns over twenty years' time were reviewed through satellite imaging while the characteristics of local house forms were also collected from tourist photographs through time recorded in Google database.

Findings

The findings of this research have pointed out that in the case of the Khasi tribe, the shift in temporal context, accompanied by a shift in technological, socio-cultural and economic aspects, is fueling the transformation in the formal expression, material and methods of the house building.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations were posed in setting up more constructive and informative interview sessions with the Khasi people due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation which limited the survey outcomes in general.

Practical implications

The scope of this study is to understand the changes and advances in socio-cultural, technological aspects of a society and their impact on the intricate patterns of life and customs that are evidently reflected in the transformation of built environments.

Originality/value

This research attempts to understand the causes behind the transformation of vernacular house forms, taking place in the Khasi village of Jaflong, Sylhet.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Mr. Sazdik Ahmed, Department of Architecture, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology for his insight into the study area and Khasi houses. Special thanks to Mr. Foisal Khonglah, Nakshiar Punji, Jaflong, Sylhet, for providing vital information about the research topic in the study area during the COVID-19 situation.

Citation

Monzur, N. and Jany, M.R. (2022), "Sustaining Traditionalism: an investigation into the vernacular transformation of the Khasi tribal houses of Sylhet", Archnet-IJAR, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARCH-12-2021-0352

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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