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Architectural Expression & Cultural

Identity: a study in the Himalayan


context
- PEMA C. BHUTIA (IV YEAR)
0901AR151027

AIM
To study the extent of interdependence between the architecture and cultural identity of a
region.

OBJECTIVE
Understanding the society and culture of some ethnic Sikkimese communities and their
translation into the regional architecture.

METHODOLOGY
1. Literature study through research papers and relevant books.
2. Case study on the existing village communities- Lepchas and the Bhutias.
3. Studying the socio-economic system of the communities.
4. Studying the vernacular architecture.

INTRODUCTION
Identity is based on how someone or something communicates, or how it ‘speaks’. Cultural
identity is one’s perception of belonging to a group or a community and manifests itself as
tradition, language, religion, heritage or social structures.
Architecture and culture co-exist; architecture never deviates from culture rather adapts and
transitions as our lifestyle changes. Cities such as Rome, Venice or the towns and villages in
Greece and Japan have a unique appeal in their architecture. They’re distinct and
recognizable mostly inspired by the site, climate, local materials and construction techniques
of the region. The inhabitants strive to safeguard the established architecture, culture, and
social system.
In the Himalayan state of Sikkim, an example of a unique regional social system can be found
in the villages of Lachung and Lachen in particular, where an inherited framework of political
institution established since the 19th century is followed even now. This gives an interesting
character to the community, which governs their social as well as economic structure
The Lepchas, believed to be the original inhabitants of Sikkim worship nature and believe in
the philosophy of symbiotic relationship with nature. They have a unique set of customs and
rituals which can be observed even in their Architecture and construction processes.

REFERENCES
1. Bourdet-Sabatier Sophie, “The dzumsa ('dzoms sa) of Lachen: an Example of a Sikkimese Political Institution”
(Translated by Anna Balikci-Denjongpa), Bull Tibetol, 40 (1) (2004)
93-104

2. “How do we sustain Regional Architecture in the face of modern models of universal


Internationalist Architecture?” – Eric Tell

FUTURE REFERENCES-

“Comparative Study of Bamboo (Ikra) Housing System with Modern Construction Practices.” -
Maulik D.Kakkad and Capt. C.S.Sanghvi

“CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON ARCHITECTURE” by STEPHEN F. KENNEY


Lachungpa C, Brief History of Lachen and Lachung Dzomsa, Lachen-Lachung, North Sikkim, (1999)

OTHER TOPICS-

1. THE BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE CIRCUIT OF SIKKIM AND ANALYSIS OF TIBETAN BUDDHIST


MONASTERIES.

2. BUILDING IN REMOTE AND TOUGH TERRAINS RESPONDING TO THE CONTEXT OF THE


SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENT.