Color in Traditional Indian Architecture—An Inquiry into the Color Family of Reds

  • Saili SonarEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 135)


Color is an important and fundamental part of interior architecture. It is present on every element in the space around us with its unique manifestation. India is a country with a rich history of architecture. Red is the color family of natural materials like earth (or mud), terracotta (or clay), stones and brick, which is extensively used in built forms since antiquity. These are the most important building materials used in today’s context as well. The red family also holds equal importance as an applied color to traditional Indian built forms. This particular research aims to identify various kinds of reds used in the traditional architecture of India with respect to the inherent colors (of materials itself) as well as the applied colors (as surface applications) seen on the main building elements. For this particular research, the three important building typologies that have been focused on comprise of temples (religious buildings), regional houses and monumental architecture. These are the key typologies which have been instrumental in giving the roots to regional and traditional buildings in India. There is a subtle translation of crafts seen on this kind of architecture, and it is one of the factors of creative expressions which will be looked into as well. It helps in understanding the association of reds and ways in which it is used in Indian buildings. In today’s modern context when designers struggle to create regional essence in architecture, this study can be a base for understanding and implementing the spirit of color and materials in that context. It can be a base to compare the use of reds with the other architectural styles around the world.


Traditional Indian architecture Red color family Inherent color Applied color Vernacular Sustainable 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MET School of Architecture and Interior DesignNashikIndia

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