Ladakh’s culture is deeply entwined with the daily lives of the people – In extreme climatic conditions such as these, cultural heritage has often simply meant the way people adapt to their altitude, seasonal patterns and ecology. Scarcity of rain and arable land has meant that village houses often cling to hill sides above the fields so as to not waste fertile soil.
Ladakh’s small, white-washed houses with flat roofs belong to a place that sees no rain (so no Himalayan sloping roofs needed) but those flat roofs can store ample animal fodder for the unproductive winter months. Long winters also mean extended wedding celebrations that go on for days, and feasts and festivals galore.
Just as they mean vast warm kitchens with ample seating, in which the family and guests can sit sipping their chhang or gur gur cha for hours. In a context of scarcity of resources, says scholar Helena Norberg-Hodge, “What cannot be eaten can be fed to animals, what cannot be used as fuel can fertilise the land Ladakhis patch their home-spun robes till they can be patched no more all shrubs or bushes serve some purpose (fuel, fodder, roof material, fence, dyes, basket weaving and so on) Even human faeces was not wasted.” In some gompas or more remote restaurants, you can still see the traditional dry latrines, in which sand and kitchen ash was used to cover up the waste, which fell down below, dried, and was later converted to fertiliser. Also, watch out for how Ladakhi fields are irrigated by water channels cut into the mountain slopes, channels which carry melting snow waters from long distances to these oases fields. Farmers water their patch and then block the channel with stones so the water flows on into neighbouring fields.
- 1 Why are houses built with flat roofs?
- 2 What type of roof is used in Leh?
- 3 What is special about houses of Ladakh?
- 4 Which roof is best for rainy climate?
- 5 Why do houses in Ladakh have many windows?
- 6 What is Donga in Ladakh?
- 7 Are flat roof houses hotter?
- 8 Is flat roof better for hot climate?
- 9 What roof is best for hot climate?
- 10 Do flat roofs always leak?
- 11 Which is better flat roof or pitched roof?
Why are houses built with flat roofs?
Benefits, and uses, and drawbacks – A rooftop in Haikou, Hainan, China, being used as a garden, storage area for wood, chicken run, and barbecue area A flat roof is the most cost-efficient roof shape as all room space can be used fully (below and above the roof). Having a smaller surface area, flat roofs require less material and are usually stronger than pitched roofs.
This style roof also provides ample space for solar panels or outdoor recreational use such as roof gardens, Applying a tough waterproofing membrane forms the ideal substrate for green roof planting schemes. Where gable roofs are uncommon or space is limited, flat roofs may be used as living spaces, with sheltered kitchens, bathrooms, living and sleeping areas.
Why Do Architects Insist on Using Flat Roofs?
In third world countries, such roof tops are commonly used as areas to dry laundry, for storage, and even as a place to raise livestock. Other uses include pigeon coops, helipads, sports areas (such as tennis courts), and restaurants outdoor seating.
What type of roof is used in Leh?
4. Hoses in Leh have flat roofs. It helps to collect water.
What is special about houses of Ladakh?
Fixing old houses on Himalaya German architect Andre Alexander has been restoring old buildings in the Tibetan capital Lhasa for 15 years now. Over the past few years he has extended his work to Leh. Ravleen Kaur caught up with him over a cup of chhaang (barley wine) at a party where the artisans celebrated the last day of the work season before parting for the winter break.
- Excerpts: Your tryst with Tibet I first visited Lhasa in 1987 and immediately fell in love with Tibetans.
- I liked everything about them, their mountains, temples and beautiful houses, and started visiting the place frequently.
- But during each subsequent visit, I noticed an alarming change: the historic buildings were disappearing.
In the mid-1990s the government planned to redevelop the historic town by 2000. I started studying Tibet’s traditional architecture, met some old master artisans who had built the monuments and in 1996 proposed to restore the decaying buildings; the government agreed.
By then, the 300 historic buildings I recorded in 1993 had dwindled down to 100. Together with some friends, I founded the non-profit, Tibet Heritage Fund. We managed to get 93 historic buildings listed as protected and for five years restored and upgraded 20 of them. In 2000, the government told us that enough old buildings have been preserved in Lhasa and more conservation work would stand in the way of development.
We stopped the work. But the team of local artisans we put together in 1996 have since been restoring ancient monasteries across the Tibetan plateau.
What brought you to Ladakh On Leh’s architecture On drainage and sanitation On growing invasion of concrete On the new toilet culture On the impact of tourism
I had heard about the unspoilt former kingdom in India. I visited the region in 2003 and felt at home; its architecture is almost identical to that of Tibet. I was particularly fascinated by the historic old town of Leh; it was in a rundown state, but still stood there.
The year I arrived in Leh, most of the wealthy families had shifted from the old town to the suburbs, leaving behind their houses to decay. The town is located below the famous nine-storey royal palace that fell into decay after the last king was deposed by the Maharaja of Jammu in 1840. The Archaeological Survey of India is doing a commendable job of restoring the palace, but no one was taking care of the old town.
I started preparing a restoration plan for the town with the help of two artisans, one Tibetan and one Ladakhi. We visited all the 187 houses in the old town, recorded their physical condition and architectural features, and gathered information about people’s lives and their occupation.
Using the data we devised the Leh Old Town Initiative project. We held community meetings and told people that we would restore their houses using traditional material, but they would have to finance 50 per cent of the work. We restored a small Buddhist temple on the hill-top to demonstrate our work. Many showed interest.
Like in Tibet, traditional houses in Ladakh are built using stones, timbers and mud in various forms, such as sun-dried mud bricks and rammed earth for plastering floors and roofs. The buildings reflect people’s lifestyle, with pens for their cows on the ground floor and Buddhist altar rooms on the top floor.
To make the buildings suited to the local climate, they are well-insulated with mud and straw, and the most important room always faces south for sunshine. The modern architecture recognizes this technique of passive solar energy. People here also have a sense of aesthetics and beauty—every house has its own character.
The façades usually have an impressive layout and the roof parapet, the doors and the windows have detailed wood-carved decorations. Poor public infrastructure is a big problem in the old town of Leh, particularly the absence of drainage system. In the past, people in this region had little access to water.
- So they generated less grey water, which was usually discharged in the fields at the bottom of the old town.
- Now there are five public taps in the town.
- People have more water, which is good, but the fields have transformed into built-up areas.
- So along with the building restoration work, we are constructing drainage channels and paving the alleyways with stones.
But very few want drainage channels near their houses. Many don’t even allow drains through their neighbourhood, even after showing them that the water flows in a concrete channel and not close to the foundation of their houses. Persuasion eats up 90 per cent of our time and the effort required makes the work difficult, even though the region’s geographical setting favours our plan.
The town is built on a downward slope and the grey water could be safely disposed in a desert below. Cleaned by the desert soil, the grey water can help it turn green. In 2009 the government of Jammu and Kashmir gave us funds. On changing lifestyles and impact of the changing weather pattern With changes in the social pattern, people live in smaller families now and do not require big houses with several rooms.
So they are subletting a portion of their houses. Since many do not keep livestock anymore, the entire ground floor meant for livestock has become obsolete. Most prefer opening shops there. But the small town requires only so many shops. We sit with the owner to plan how to make the most of his house.
In recent years, the changed weather pattern in the Himalaya has brought more rain in the summer. This is a problem as the flat mud roofs are designed for the originally dry climate. We have experimented with all kinds of mud and clay mixes to improve the durability of the mud roofs. So far, we have made some good progress and our roofs usually don’t leak.
Everyone in Ladakh is now in love with concrete. People are tearing down their beautiful traditional houses to construct concrete buildings. But since these buildings are not well-insulated, they would eventually cause problems. Luckily, people in the old town still support the traditional architecture.
- We are trying to propagate this across Ladakh.
- In Ladakh where water is scarce, flush toilets are wasteful.
- Moreover, they don’t work in the winters as water freezes.
- But people think it is modern to have flush toilets.
- So, most houses these days have two toilets: the traditional composting type for the winters and flush toilets for the summers.
In the absence of a proper drainage system in the area, people drill and set up septic tanks underneath their houses. This can contaminate the groundwater. People also want to install showers in the old mud houses. But first the problem of drainage needs to be solved.
Tourism has definitely brought more income to the region. But of late, many Ladakhis have started feeling that tourism is causing too much change in too short a time. This could destroy the place like Kathmandu and Goa. Many people across Leh have already converted their houses into guest houses, internet cafes, restaurants or souvenir shops.
This would spoil the Himalayan valley’s historic and traditional character. We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
What is the advantage of such roof in Ladakh?
• Roofs are an essential part of the house in Ladakh because roofs protect them from have rainfall and snow. • In Ladakh, houses made up of stone and brick walls. Houses have flat roofs. • Flat roofs made up of clay, mud, and straw. Some times roofs made with cow dung also.
Why do hot countries have flat roofs?
Cool roofs are one of the most effective and easiest solutions to increase the thermal comfort of buildings and reduce cooling costs in hot climate countries with high solar radiation and outdoor temperatures.
Why are roofs in Nepal blue?
For Robert Mugabe’s house, see Blue Roof, A blue roof is a roof of a building that is designed explicitly to provide initial temporary water storage and then gradual release of stored water, typically rainfall. Blue roofs are constructed on flat or low sloped roofs in urban communities where flooding is a risk due to a lack of permeable surfaces for water to infiltrate, or seep back into the ground.
- Water is stored in blue roof systems until it either evaporates or is released downstream after the storm event has passed.
- Blue roofs that are used for temporary rooftop storage can be classified as “active” or “passive” depending on the types of control devices used to regulate drainage of water from the roof.
Blue roofs can provide a number of benefits depending on design. These benefits include temporary storage of rainfall to mitigate runoff impacts, storage for reuse such as irrigation or cooling water makeup, or recreational opportunities. The term blue roof may also be used to indicate roofs that are blue in color.
Why Ladakh is known as roof of the world?
The adventure capital of the country, Ladakh is famous for the top three highest motorable mountain passes in the world. This is the reason to why Ladakh gets the name as Roof of the World. It is also famous for Tibetan and Buddhism culture. You can find many outdoor activities and other attractions here.
Which roof is best for rainy climate?
Protection from the Elements – Metal roofs feature a system of interlocking panels that protect the house and provide full coverage from and resistance to the elements. Unlike other roofing materials, metal is installed with fewer seams, giving water and moisture less room for intrusion.
That makes it the best roof for a rainy climate. Thinking of installing a metal roof as part of a home improvement project? Considering a different type of roofing material for your place of business? We can help. Get in touch with the roofing company that knows all about it — your metal roofing experts at Mountaintop Metal Roofing,
We’ll install a beautiful and customizable roofing system that can last for 100 years thanks not only to its resistance to rain but also to its fire resistance and ability to withstand other extreme weather conditions.
Why do houses in Ladakh have many windows?
Perched high above the Himalayan town of Leh, a warren of traditional mud-brick houses squats by the ruins of the royal palace and a monastery, appearing to grow out of the mountainside. These homes in the capital of India’s Buddhist Ladakh region, which have stood for centuries, are regarded as some of the best remaining examples of urban Tibetan-style architecture. Conservationists are increasingly fretting about the survival of these medieval buildings in the Old Town But, although Leh last year received unusually heavy downpours that caused several of the flat roofs to cave in, a walk through the old area shows that decades of plain neglect are more to blame than anything else.
“For the last 15 years, people have been moving away,” said conservationist Andre Alexander, head of the Tibet Heritage Fund, which has been working for the last four years to restore buildings in Old Leh. “There’s been a build-up of infrastructure in the modern town. The contrast has helped to convince people there’s no future in Old Town.” The three-storeyed houses are perfectly adapted for the cold, dry climate, with the thick walls, great for keeping warmth in while numerous tall windows let in lots of sunshine.
They are beautiful, too, with carved wooden window frames and narrow stairs that lead out to rooftop terraces that look out over the valley below. Alexander’s conservation group offers financing to locals still living in the area, mainly poor labourers, to help them restore their homes, which can cost as much as $1,250 (about Rs50,000).
Before, the roof was falling. The walls were crooked. There were many cracks,” said Tsering Dorje as he sipped butter tea made with yak’s milk in his spruced-up house. The impoverished mason got help from the group by offering to do all the work himself. Alexander believes that as Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, becomes more modern under Chinese rule, it has become more important than ever to protect Leh’s architecture.
Tibet-influenced Ladakh shares many cultural similarities with its trans-Himalayan neighbour, which China has ruled since 1951 after sending in troops to “liberate” the region the previous year. “In Lhasa, there is not so much left. The government had a very different vision of what Lhasa should be—very modern,” said Alexander who worked in Lhasa before moving to Leh in 2003.
- Leh now has much more than Lhasa.” But Leh’s Old Town is still ignored by the authorities.
- Says Tsewang Rigzin, new tourism councillor for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council: “In the last 15-20 years, there’s been very bad planning for Leh.
- Everything has gone on in a very haphazard manner.” The World Monuments Fund said the authorities could do a better job of maintenance, as well as monitoring new construction.
“These buildings have survived centuries but some of them have not been attended to. Properly maintained, using traditional materials, these buildings can last for centuries more,” says Mark Weber, fund technical director. Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint.
How are the houses of Leh made of?
Hint: Leh is a town in the northern region of India. It is the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh along with Kargil. It has an area of 9.15 sq. km and a population of 30,870 having a population density of 3,400/sq. Km. Complete answer: The factors that determine the type of construction of a house is the climate of the place, the construction materials that are available nearby, and the economic condition of the people living in that area.
- The land in Leh is high, dry, and flat.
- The houses in hilly areas are made of wood along with other materials because it keeps them warm and is not very heavy as most of the houses are built on rocky and hilly terrain, so heavy houses would fall.
- The houses in Leh are built of stones, most of the houses are on two floors, the ground, and the first floor as bigger houses would disbalance under the extreme conditions in these areas.
The walls of these houses are coated with mud and lime and the floor and ceiling are made up of wood, as all these protect the people living inside from the cold climate. Hence, the correct option is B. Note: It lies at an elevation of 3,524 m so it has a cold desert climate.
What is Donga in Ladakh?
Donga is the type of houseboats where many families in Srinagar live. These boats can be seen in Dal Lake and Jhelum river.
Are flat roof houses colder?
Temperature Changes – Flat roofs have a tendency to absorb heat easier than pitched roofs. This is due to the fact that flat roofs are constantly exposed to sunlight all day. In the hotter months, your home can get very hot, and in winter, you’ll feel uncomfortably cold. However, this isn’t such a big issue if the flat roof is installed on the garage or shed as you won’t be spending a lot of time in the outbuilding or extension.
Are flat roof houses hotter?
Flat roofing is more prone to trapping heat than other roofing systems and this causes your building to be warmer and your energy costs higher.
Is flat roof better for hot climate?
Flat Roof – Flat roofs are a popular element of a, They tie in well with a clean, minimalist look of Modernism. These are not perfectly flat and do have some slope to ensure rainwater can drain off. However, this slope is sometimes not enough for torrential rainwater to flow off fast enough.
In tropical regions with significant rain during the monsoon season, flat roofs can sometimes encourage ponding and risk potential failure to leak. Hence, flat roofs are more suited for climates that do not receive a lot of rainfall. In addition, they can often end up being lower than pitched roofs. Therefore, heat that may accumulate under the roof level is lower.
Hence, closer to your space.
What roof is best for hot climate?
If you live in an area with soaring summer temperatures, it is important to consider the best roofing materials for heat and hot climates. The shingles on your roof play a pivotal role in the longevity of your roof, and the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.
- While popular, asphalt and wood roof shingles are not best for areas that experience triple-digit temperatures.
- The best roof types for homeowners in hot climates are metal, slate, clay, or rubber shingles.
- Metal roofs are perfect for hot climates because they excel under extreme temperatures.
- Metal is reflective and considered a “cool roofing” material.
Highly reflective paints and coatings can even further improve your roof’s energy efficiency. Metal roofs have continued to increase in popularity, Twenty years ago, the metal roofing market share was just 3.7 percent6. But a recent independent study conducted by Dodge Data and Analytics found the 2016 market share for residential metal re-roofing is now 14 percent.
This is partly due to the material’s longevity— metal roofs can last two to three times longer than a typical asphalt shingle roof, Metal is also fire-resistant and viewed as a safer material for a hot environment compared to other roofing types. After several years, exposure to the elements will cause your protective coating to wear down, but a simple re-coating is all the maintenance a metal roof needs.
Metal roofing typically costs anywhere from $7 to $10 per square foot. While a metal roof is a significantly larger investment than an asphalt roof, the energy savings in your home combined with the potential for a higher resale value can make it a worthy investment for a new construction or roof replacement.
How do flat roofs not leak?
How to Prevent Flat Roof Leaks – In many cases, flat roofs can leak when debris is left on the roof for long. It can block water from flowing down your roof or redirect it to other areas. Make sure you regularly clean your flat roof without pushing debris down the drains.
Installing Flashing – Adding flashing to your flat roof will prevent leaks around chimneys and vents. Let your roofer also install flashing along the edge of the roof, ensuring it bends over the edge. Use a Membrane – A is typically installed on top of shingles to take the place of gravel on a flat roof. It’s a great way to prolong the life of an old, deteriorating roof.
Do flat roofs always leak?
6 Most Common Flat Roofing Problems Whether you own a commercial building, or your home just happens to have a unique flat roof, you know that it often requires more work than other standard types of roofs. While it may have been simpler to build, it requires a lot of maintenance and inspections to keep it up and make sure that everything is functioning as it should.
- The hard part about a flat roof is knowing whether you need to get it replaced, or if you just need to do a few minor repairs.
- We’ve put together a list of the top 6 most common problems that occur in flat roofs, and how best to deal with these issues depending on their severity: Alligatoring – One of the surest signs that your flat roof needs replacement is a phenomenon called alligatoring.
What happens is the asphalt used to build your flat roof has aged and lost its elasticity, causing it to crack and bubble and look something like the skin of an alligator. Unfortunately, this means that your asphalt flat roof has deteriorated past the point of no return, and will need replacement.
Leaks and moisture – Probably the most common problems with flat roofs, leaks and lingering moisture are issues that can be dealt with effectively, as long as you stay on top of them. Just like any roof, a flat roof will develop leaks, but since it’s flat, the water doesn’t have anywhere to go but straight down.
This means that moisture can seep into the roof itself and cause problems that may lead to mold and fungus. The best way to deal with this is to make sure that you have your roof inspected regularly, and maintenanced every time you find an issue. Buckle in membrane – Most asphalt flat roofs are constructed similarly to shingled roofs in that they are made up of a membrane soaked in asphalt, and then laid across the top of the building to make the roof; unlike shingled roofs, however, the membrane on a flat roof is all one piece.
This means that over time, as your house shifts and settles, so too will your roof. Excessive movement can cause buckles in that asphalt membrane, which signals the end of your flat roof’s life. A roof that is buckling is not safe to live under, and can cause major problems down the line. It’s a good idea to get it replaced as soon as possible.
Pooling water – Since your roof is flat, when it rains or snows, there’s nowhere for that precipitation to go. As your home settles over time, the roof itself will shift a bit, meaning it might not be as level as it was when it was first installed. This may cause water to pool in divots and dips in your roof.
While most materials are manufactured to hold up to water, you should drain these pools as soon as possible and check to make sure that water didn’t seep into lower layers of the roof. If pooling is allowed to linger, it’s likely to deteriorate the exterior of your roof, shortening the lifetime of the flat roof.
Crack in roof – Flat roofs tend to have more pressure exerted on them, since they are flat instead of slanted. Sometimes this pressure can build up, and if the pressure and stress become excessive, it can cause your roof to crack. In the event that your roof does crack, you should call a professional immediately.
- In addition to exposing your home to precipitation, a crack in the roof is often a sign that your roof is structurally compromised, and it’s time for a new one.
- Flashing – Just like most other materials, asphalt flat roofs tend to expand and contract with changing weather and temperatures.
- Over time, this continued expansion and contraction can cause the flashing to pull away from the edges and corners of your roof, leading to leaks and moisture that can get trapped inside your roof.
The best way to avoid this is to inspect and maintain your flat roof regularly. Once the leaks become significant, or if you have a lot of deterioration in the flashing, you’ll be forced to get a new roof. If you have questions about the condition of your flat roof, or if you think it’s time to get your flat roof inspected, call the experts at Werner & Sons Roofing.
Which is better flat roof or pitched roof?
Pros of a pitched roof – There’s a reason so many people prefer the pitched roof, and the biggest reason of all is their longevity. On the whole, a pitched roof will likely outlive any flat roof contender, thanks to the higher quality materials used in their construction.
They also require less maintenance too. Partly because of the stern stuff they’re made from, but also because those sloping sides help drain away rainwater, avoiding any destructive pooling. You’ll also be able to maximise on the space in your home, thanks to those high ceilings a pitched roof can provide.
This means extra space for your money, another reason why pitched might be more cost effective in the long run. Speaking of the long run, don’t forget to consider your future buyers too. An ugly roof can be off-putting, so unless your architect can keep a flat roof stylish, the classic look of pitched might be your best bet for increasing the price of your home.
Is a flat roof better than a pitched roof?
What to Do? – Flat roofs are often associated with more modern design, while pitched roofs are more practical choices for areas that receive a lot of precipitation. Homeowners have both design and practical things to consider when deciding between a pitched roof or a flat roof.