Without patronage from the government, traditional materials and technologies have fallen out of favour
TRADITIONALLY, BUILDINGS in India have been considered living entities, and were respected by the creator and users alike. From the stone temples of South India to the multi-storied rammed earth structures in Ladakh; from the bamboo structures in eastern India to the cave architecture in the western parts; and from stepped wells to the riverbanks, all built spaces have been environmentally responsive and ecologically sensitive.
Materials and technologies that were used to build these time-defying buildings are still available, but builders do not opt for them because they are either not easily available in the market, or the craftsmen have forgotten the use of these materials. There is a pressing need for making these traditional materials acceptable and make them available for the end user in the mainstream. There is also a need to modify some of the traditional techniques so that they can be used in conventional buildings. These materials and techniques have the potential to transform our buildings towards a sustainable future. It is probably too much to expect that all buildings would be green, but the optimist within me sees that as a possibility.
Here are a few materials that have stood the test of time and continue to amaze architects with their strength and versatility.