Page 9 - CochinBrochure

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yet frees itself of the building along the three
other edges of the property (right). The
synagogue, penned in the wall, is bordered
with narrow strips of space to the rear and two
sides, while the front zone is replaced by a
deep covered porch with a second floor
classroom above. The front façade of the
second floor is thus co–planar with the
perimeter wall.
Influenced by Indian building traditions coupled with the influences of
visiting traders and imperialists over the centuries, the Chennamangalam
synagogue is a wonderful example of the traditions of Keralan vernacular
thachusasthra design (above left). Until the 16th century and the arrival of
the Portuguese in India, roofs of local buildings were often bamboo framed
and covered with thatched palm leaves (this technique can still be seen in
Keralan villages). The roof system would have been set on mud walls or
simple masonry walls. In time, this construction technique was replaced
with wood framed roofs (often teak) covered with terracotta tiles set (above
center) on thick–bodied laterite stone walls veneered in chunam (a polished
lime plaster) (above right). The local components were thus fused with
foreign building techniques introduced by outsiders, first the Portuguese and
later the Dutch and British. These influences also affected synagogue
architecture and were combined with the Jewish ritual and liturgical
requirements.
Architecturally,
the
Chennamangalam
synagogue's clean–lined aesthetic results from
its simple geometry and minimal yet decorative
detail. Found at the building are fan patterns at
its façade, thick bands of casings and coursings,
deep open eaves with exposed rafters, flat
white–washed surfaces with rolled or soft
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