Practicing Architect, Bangalore, India
The learning imbibed in us through our first understanding of the space ‘home’ is irreplaceable. We learnt the aspects discipline, cleanliness and sharing in the most rudimentary manner which carved us into ‘cultured social beings’. The deep associations of culture and architecture are realized through a materialistic setting through an act of everyday life, in this context a dynamic space undergoing changes from time to time. Spaces and usage of materials are dictated by their tradition, forming an architectural language. In response to time, this has formed an adaptive culture, thus has undergone the process of transformation. Specific locations in a house weigh less importance than the others, one such not so appreciated space is the ‘threshold’. It sits at the entrance or takes its place, yet isn’t as important as the house. Transitions, interactions, circulations and exchanges happen in this indefinite yet definite space. The idea of boundary, psychological or physiological, that the threshold extends transforms from the fact that this space connects two completely contrasting life domains. There was an appalling shift from then to now. The aspects of culture through built environment have been replaced by the much fancier ‘modern’. The transformed adaptive culture has lost its elements. The oblivion of these essences of tradition brings in desperate need for it to be preserved and stated to be authentic. Yet, what stands before us is an opportunity to observe the process of transformation, adaptation and appropriation as rural communities substitute traditional thresholds for modern ones. This paper weighs the position of the thresholds in Indian dwellings from a rural locale to the proliferating urban sprawl and seeks to find its identity on a social, emotional and traditional. The switch of one house form for the other implies cultural change and thins the role of a threshold as a continuum of cultural values. With the continuous paradigm shift the transitional threshold is quietly dying out!
Thresholds, culture, transitional space, social interaction