Manikkal Mana : A Restoration Project featuring Traditional Kerala Architecture Details | Durga Sarath Architects

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Manikkal Mana is a Restoration project located at Calicut in Kerala.  The project was introduced to us in the year 2018. By then the building was completely vacant and severely dilapidated and the structure of the building had been greatly weakened. 

Manikkal Mana : A Restoration Project featuring Traditional Kerala Architecture Details | Durga Sarath Architects

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The Mana was built more than a century ago and it features the typical Kerala traditional details such as the sloping roof, long veranda, thick vegetation and a natural pond. Examination of the site and structure revealed that the construction techniques and the spatial arrangement of spaces were designed very interestingly. The natural building materials available for construction then were stone, timber, laterite and clay.

The already existing natural pond also locally termed as ‘kulam’ serves as an integral part of the site. This gives rise to a welcoming and a generous entrance to the property. As laterite was most abundantly found in Kerala, it was used as building blocks and as this had the property of getting stronger and durable with exposure at atmospheric air.

The stonework was restricted to the plinth and the walls of the Mana were built by using laterite and plastered with lime mortars. Timber being abundantly available in many varieties in Kerala, ceilings, joineries, room partitions and furniture’s were skillfully used in the Mana.

The Mana originally had six bedrooms and a small courtyard which is on the ground floor and one comparatively larger room on the first floor. The rooms were designed very small and there were no separate toilets provided in the bedrooms instead open latrines made of granite were noticed in the corner of the rooms. The building being witnessed a few structural renovations over the period of time, respecting the heritage value of the building and restoring the same without losing the zest of it was quite a challenge. 

Firstly, to make the most of the space it was proposed to change the configuration from six rooms to four comfortably spaced out bedrooms and attached washrooms to address the modern demands.

The wooden pillar that acted as the main support for the ceiling in the entrance foyer when investigated had been severely damaged by termites. Therefore, concrete was introduced to the pillar to stabilize the strength. Natural materials such as athangudi tiles were used for the flooring as it also helped the interiors feel cool in temperature and the timber ceilings were untouched. The roof tiles were completely dismantled, and placed the same way after cleaning.

 A large part of the site area was developed according to the requirements and the interiors have been renovated while keeping in mind the functionality and aesthetics of spaces. The building in regard to its context fulfils its function while respecting its heritage value.


Designed by : Durga Sarath Architects

Project Type : Restoration

Project Name : Manikkal Mana Restoration

Location : Feroke, Calicut, Kerala

Year Built : 2021

Built up : 4000 sq.ft

Principal Architect : Ar. Sarath S Kumar & Ar. Durga Cholapurath

Photography Courtesy : Turtle Arts Photography

Basic Insights of your firm and the project :

Q.  Please share with us challenges faced by you during the process of design ideation till execution of the project. We are sure there might be many and you would have overcome it successfully.

A. We invested enough time to document the building since it was more than a100 year old mana. During the documentation process we found many challenges in structure and the material used in the building were all damaged. One of the main challenges was that there was a single wooden pillar near the courtyard which was totally damaged by termites and was replaced by a concrete pillar. This was the main pillar which held almost 60% of the weight of the center portion.

(image showing the pillar near the courtyard)

Firm’s Instagram Link : Durga Sarath Architects

Email Id (For any inquiry) : [email protected]

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