The Architecture of Houses in the Motipol Locality, Old Surat

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Published on: 14 December 2018

Binita Tamboli & Nikhil Sanjay Shah

Binita Tamboli is an architect by profession and is pursuing masters in Ekistics from Jamia University. Her research work majorly concerns history and philosophy.

Nikhil Sanjay Shah is a researcher based in Surat, with keen interest in urban issues, historic studies and conservation, sustainable development, community participation and earth architecture.

'Motipol' literally means the locality of the pearls. The area was referred to as such due to the high concentration of pearl traders in it. Being a prominent port for several centuries meant that Surat had a thriving pearl trade that was considerably lucrative and allowed its participants access to various regions extending beyond the present-day subcontinent. These myriad regional influences found their way into the architecture of the houses in this locality, as can be observed even today. The houses here represent a further evolved version of a traditional house form, with eclectic influences in the detailing of individual elements ranging from local ones, to Arabesque and Baroque ones. A remarkable element common to these houses is their balcony projections.