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Kalidas Jethabhai House: Understanding material characteristics



The Directed Research Project as part of the Masters in Conservation and Regeneration (MCR) program at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University aimed to develop an understanding of compatible material for the Kalidas Jethabhai house in Dharmaj, Gujarat, after a thorough study of its existing material characteristics (physical, and chemical properties). In order to protect and conserve a traditional building, it becomes important to keep its original character in place, such that the building does not lose its authenticity and integrity. To achieve this, one needs to understand the material used in the construction of the structure in the past which would further help in selecting the right material for the conservation or restoration of the edifice as per its compatibility with the original structure. The compatible material should have the same physical, mechanical, and chemical properties as the original material along with it being durable and climate-proof. Therefore, it becomes important to study the elemental composition of materials in the field of conservation as a lot of it depends on the equilibrium of the old and the newly applied material.



The project started with measured drawing (with the help of MCR batch 2022) and mapping of the materials used over the period of time in Kalidas Jethabhai’s house. For understanding the material fabric and its properties, material samples were collected from the site by using the appropriate tools and safety measures. Collected samples were documented and various minor destructive tests were performed to identify its properties and present elemental components in the sample. Tests such as XRD, field – XRF, FE-SEM, FT-IR, and wet chemical separation (acid loss) of the sample were performed along with the physical observation of the sample which includes colour, visible materials and textures.


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