Bungalows of Travancore: A Study of the Architectural Typology in Thiruvananthapuram

in Module
Published on: 17 June 2019

Amiya Jemeemah Hisham

Amiya Jemeemah Hisham is an architect based in Thiruvananthapuram. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the College of Architecture Trivandrum (CAT), University of Kerala. After a brief stint in the teaching profession, she now works for an architectural organisation, Environmental Creations, led by senior architect T.M. Cyriac, where she is engaged in developing critical research content for an architectural documentation project based in Thiruvananthapuram.

The bungalow is a versatile architectural typology that became widespread during the British Raj in India. The British bungalow inspired the architecture of the home of affluent natives of the time and continued to do so long after Independence. For much of the 20th century, the common connotation of the bungalow was a large multi-storeyed residence irrespective of whether it actually resembled the original British bungalows or not. Regardless of the origins of this architectural form, the importance of the bungalow lies in its symbolic value, associated with power and status. It embodied social hierarchies of the time and at the same time it could be personalised and adapted to local cultural values and integrated into the native landscape, retaining its most significant attribute in some way or the other—exclusivity.

This module deals with bungalows constructed in Thiruvananthapuram (earlier known as Trivandrum, the capital city of the former princely state of Travancore), Kerala, during the colonial period, i.e. from the 1800s to the early 20th century, and aims to understand this architectural type found in the city by tracing its evolution across time, and discussing its different variants.