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White Town PONDICHERRY

FIELD OBSERVATION STUDIES

SAMYA RANJAN NAYAK

1502106042


Almost two hundred years of French occupation have resulted in a distinct beautification of Pondicherry. The White Town area of Pondicherry is also known as the French Quarter and one could not be at fault if one thought of being in Montpellier or Bordeaux. Many of these structures in the French Quarter of Pondicherry are colonial buildings and were built by the French during their rule. Some of the buildings in White Town have been deemed as heritage sites and are breathtakingly beautiful.

White Town PONDICHERRY


Architecture Pondicherry has an interesting cross-cultural history and its built form is one of the major components in lending a unique identity to the town. The old town of Pondicherry which is a showcase of the two distinct architectural styles - French and Tamil and the hybrid Franco-Tamil. The French quarter has buildings inspired by the European classical style. Whereas the building in the Tamil quarter are in the vernacular style of Tamil Nadu. In French quarter each building with different design – the interior of the building with its colonade, portico, porch and garden made with total privacy from the street outside. French houses one can say are more “introvert” the massive gate being the connection between the inside and outside.

In contrast, the Tamil houses can be said to be ‘extrovert’ with their verandas (thalvaram) with sitting platforms (thinnai) opening on to the street, welcoming neighbors and passes by for a chat or visit. While the entrance verandas are very welcomed, they also preserve the privacy of the inner house as only family and close friends are allowed inside. In olden days the passing pilgrims were welcoming to spend a night on the thinnai, freshen up in the morning and move on!

White Town PONDICHERRY


Streetscapes of the French Town The streets are usually characterized by continuous wall to wall construction, full or partial street frontage, high garden walls, elaborate gateways, and solid walls divided into smaller panels by the use of verticals (pilaster) and horizontals (cornices). These street facades are usually plain and austere, enhancing the effect of the straight and perpendicular grid plan of the town. The exterior wall panels feature flat or segmental arched windows with bands and louvred wooden shutters. In the case of two storied buildings wooden balconies supported on wrought iron brackets and common. The composition is completed by a continuous parapet usually decorated with loopholes or terracotta pot baluster, or curved. In the case of important building decorative features and end ornaments are commonly used.

STREETSCAPE

White Town PONDICHERRY


GATES & DOORS OF PONDICHERRY There are over hundreds of heritage buildings in Pondicherry, in which many varieties of gates & doors can be seen. In French quarter gates & doors are of different designs and no two gates & doors are exactly the same. The entrance gates are one of the most prominent elements of the French villas. These gates are the symbolic representation of the status and prosperity of the owner. A remarkably wide range can be observed from the simple pie red gate to elaborately detailed portals with arches and pediments. But in Tamil quarter doors are similar. The main door placed between the thinnai is ornately carved and made mostly of teak wood. The top panel usually depicts the community of the inhabitants. We are presenting such gates & doors in this photo illustration. FRANCO -TAMIL DOOR Entrance doors are finely carved and the elaborate frames are made of many layers of wood. The shutters are thick and often of two pieces – the front one with carved cut-out and the rear one just plain. The doors are fixed to the frames by iron hinges. There is a surprising consistency in the carving pattern of these doors. The relief on top the door frame has symbols pertaining to the community of the owner. FRENCH DOOR Door are similar to windows – featuring high and arched or flat with bands, splayed jambs with masonry rebate and louvered or paneled wooden leaves. Some doors have a second operable shutter with canework that cuts off vision and ensures privacy while allowing enough light and ventilation. Doors are fixed by hinges directly from the wall and fastened by long brass or wrought iron bolts. Strong cross-bolts and in some cases hotels in the jambs are provided to accommodate wooden cross bars for secure closing.

White Town PONDICHERRY


GATE AND DOORS

White Town PONDICHERRY


GATE AND DOORS

White Town PONDICHERRY


HERITAGE WINDOWS OF PONDICHERRY There are over hundreds of heritage building in Pondicherry, in which much variety of doors & windows can be seen. In French quarter gates & doors are of different designs and no two gates & doors are exactly the same, whereas most French windows are similar and elaborate size however with individual variations. They are made of bricks. In Tamil quarter doors are similar, but windows are different. Windows placed near thinnai & door, are mostly flat with teak wood frames set into the walls.Tamil windows particularly franco - tamil windows feature many beautiful ornamental plaster decorations.This edition is intended in illustrating such windows of Pondicherry.

White Town PONDICHERRY


WINDOWS

White Town PONDICHERRY


A modern interpretation of a classic Franco-Tamil style house. The pillared walkway is a key distinguisher of this style. The style of balconies are one which you will see in abundance in Pondicherry and has almost become synonymous with the style of architecture in most Franco-Tamil houses. This is a great example of a newly constructed house that is sensitive to the traditional style.

BUILDING FAÇADES

White Town PONDICHERRY

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