The traditional courtyard houses of South India represent a typology much older, and really quite different, from that of the bungalows built by the British – which is usually a long shed (with the living and dining rooms down the center and the bedrooms on either side), wrapped around with continuous verandahs. The result: rooms which are large and generous, but sadly lacking in light and cross-ventilation. In contrast, the traditional old Hindu houses in Tamil Nadu and Goa are usually organised around a small central courtyard, with a tree or tulsi plant in the middle.

The front door, intentionally placed off-center on the main facade, leads one along a shifting axis to arrive at the courtyard – which acts as the central focus, and brings wonderful bounce-light and ventilation to the rooms that surround it.