Gender and Space; Analysis of gender zones of Sethi Havelis, Peshawar

  • Samra M. Khan Associate Professor Department of Architecture & Design CIIT, Islamabad, Pakistan
Keywords: Haveli, vernacular architecture, social- cultural, women, engendered spaces.


The haveli form evolved in vernacular architecture to support traditional patterns of living. The socio-cultural dimensions of society were strongly reflected in the spatial division of the haveli on the basis of gender. In the subcontinent, the understanding of vernacular architecture and its representation of women’s status as outlined by spatial hierarchy is still largely un-documented. This paper explores the hypothesis that forms have the ability to adapt to socio-cultural changes and needs in societies, it studies architectural spaces of the Sethi Mohalla, Peshawar, on the basis of gender, in order to understand the manifestation of the socio-cultural norms of the era. The methodology of this study includes interviews with the female residents of the havelis, direct observation of the spaces and analysis of spatial configuration by drawings. The analysis was based on; i) the access to the women’s spaces, ii) the integration or segregation of space in context of social contact and the iii) aesthetic quality of these spaces. The paper concludes that architecture is indicative of the socio-cultural era it is produced in and can be used as a mechanism to create a secondary role for the female gender.
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