Built Form as a Manifestation of Socio-cultural Expression: A Case Study on Tanjavur Ammaveedu


“House form is not simply the result of physical forces or any single causal factor but is the consequence of a whole range of socio-cultural factors seen in their broadest terms.” - Amos Rapoport in House, Form, and Culture (1969) stated this and proves this hypothesis by gathering much evidence through his studies. The house form reflects the inhabitant’s way of existence, their connection with society, and how they perform their day-to-day functions. It is impossible to design a space without first learning about the user and considering their response to that space and its function. This paper acknowledges and analyses the roots from which the demand for spaces arose and the characteristics of the spatial elements that arose with it. Ammaveedus were house forms that were formed as a subsidiary product of the social hierarchal system that prevailed in Travancore, Kerala – the Matrilineal system. The research explores to find facts that establish the relationship between the built form and the socio-cultural system. The paper investigates the impact of the socio-cultural – the Matrilineal system, on Tanjavur Ammaveedu. The research is also an exploratory analysis at various levels – context, site, building, zoning, spatial, etc. and finally deducing the spatial and architectural features that formed because of the socio-cultural influence.


Anagha Gs
Student, Architecture, College of Engineering Trivandrum, Kerala, India


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society


Socio-cultural factors, Matrilineal system, Ammaveedu

Digital Media

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