The 21st century has seen a major shift in the Indian architectural landscape. Each succeeding year has seen the emergence of newer and more innovative design trends. Whether it’s adapting ideas from the West or reverting back to the age-old Eastern systems, home designing has become a very important aspect of the developer’s plan for their next township or gated community.
Today, more and more homeowners are placing a premium on the way their homes are designed and planned. While different buyers choose different aesthetics when styling their homes, every buyer agrees on their desire for a well-designed space. This is one of the most important reasons for the constant evolution of Indian home designs. History is the best way to gain an insight into this evolution.
Centuries of Tradition
Although traditionally designed homes faced stagnation post liberalization in the 1900s, we cannot ignore the fact that traditional Indian homes are an amazing tribute to a passive form of architecture that optimizes the environment around them. They have spacious verandahs and rooms that ensure air circulation throughout the house and keep the temperature inside cool and breezy.
Whether we talk about the red oxidized floors of Kolkata, Naalukettu homes in Kerala, Chang houses in the north-east or the Havelis of Punjab, traditional homes are almost reminiscent of an India from a different time. For some of us these homes are a reminder of our native place or childhood days. These homes are a reflection of a different era of home design and the incorporation of our rich culture. These homes were also beautiful tributes to the art, culture and tradition of the region that they belonged to.
The Advent Of The Modern
Jumping ahead to the 21st century, the home design scenario has changed and more importantly, people’s needs and tastes have also changed.
It is quite interesting to observe how an increase in land values and the demand for floor space has pushed architecture on the fast track of change Skyscrapers began to emerge mid- 1990s and an estimated 3000 high rises have emerged in Mumbai alone. Under the pressure of urbanisation and the influence of globalisation, it seems that cities have become the centrepieces of modern design thinking in just the span of a decade.
Unlike traditional homes with extensive availability of space, our modern homes have begun to kiss the city skylines and embrace heights like never before. These homes are built to provide comfort and luxury to nuclear families. These homes are equipped with automations and planning that ensures that every space has a purpose and the entire home is optimised to the best of its abilities. This is why, not only are we now used to the idea of more compact homes, we’ve began to appreciate the ease of managing them as well. Contrary to what you’d expect, apartments do not hinder us from making social connections with our neighbours. Just like traditional homes were once part of larger communities, high rises and apartments today have also become strongly bonded communities.
Though modern homes may lack grand verandahs and large social spaces, they have been planned to include clubs and gardens that work just as well in facilitating social connections.
Because of them, living in apartments has started to become preferable to the inconveniences that come with managing a bungalow or row house.
The Contemporary Touch
As modern homes began to dominate the real estate market, our homes began to reflect the modern design and aesthetics as well. As our needs evolved, we’ve learned to adapt. While the current generation gave certain precedence to the functional value of a house, they also crave a cultural touch to these modern structures. The modern homes need to look unique, a reflection of its inhabitants. Herein lies the beauty of the contemporary Indian home design with its ability to retain our traditional touch while allowing for modern needs. Between energy efficient lighting, matte finish paint and hardwood floors, we will still have stylish timber doors, baithaks and ornate walls and as a result, contemporary home design that is still evolving and ever-changing.
The old perception of architecture design as creating spaces of rest, containment, comfort and protection are changing swiftly. Architecture designs are influenced by real life conditions and built on an assumption that any desired change is effective only if it alleviates one’s present living situation. It is safe to say that home design evolution in India is yet to reach its absolute zenith.