Indo-Portuguese architecture in Kerala during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

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Along the western coast of South India, as well as in the interior regions of Kerala, we find a significant patrimony of classical European architecture resulting from Portuguese influence, in which Jesuit missionaries played a crucial role. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, strongly influenced by the late Renaissance, this architecture underwent an interesting process of adapting to both the climate and to local aesthetic standards amidst a phase of intense cultural interaction. This patrimony, most evident in a large number of parish churches, reveals itself as a striking typology characterised by open galleries running along the lateral façades. It encompasses two storeys, i.e., a veranda at the level of the first floor and a gallery with columns or pillars on the ground floor. The veranda-galleries provided these churches with a sequence of spaces perfectly adapted to the local lifestyle, functioning as an elaborate system of solar protection and ventilation for the interior nave. In civil architecture, another interesting typology can be observed. In most cases, this typology, represented by parish houses, is characterised by a large, classical two-storey structure, in its most common morphology featuring a vast veranda running along the first floor with an arched or pillared gallery on the ground floor. The verandas and internal layout of these structures, overall, represent a significant form of tropical architecture. The study of this architecture, and understanding of its evolutionary process, requires analysis of its context as well as consideration of the strategies developed within the scope of the Portuguese empire and its missionary work in Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook on the Reception of Classical Architecture
EditorsNicholas Temple, Andrzej Piotrowski, Juan Manuel Heredia
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315171104
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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