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Lavanya K


Kunnivayal (Assembling components of a threshold system)

The highly undulating terrains of Wayanad (Vayal+ Nadu) plateau with its piedmonts and Pedi plains is home to a unique system of wetland forest and cultivation called the vayals. Kurchiyas previously forest dwellers and presently an indigenous agrarian community has developed an exclusive system of farming these lands. It consists of two systems, the vayals ( paddy fields) and Kunnivayals ( a threshold system). All cultural rituals, ceremonies, practices and the ephemeral cycles of everyday life of the kurichyas are interwoven with their farming practices and cycles. The kunnivayals form a significant part of their existence and day to day life as their homestead garden that is nurtured and cultivated with utmost care and precision according to the individual preferences of the gardener or cultivator. The location of it between the foothills of the forest and vayals (wetlands) makes it a resilient buffer that holds water and protects from wildlife along with providing staple food, flowers and medicinal plants for the community. As an ecological unit, it provides habitat to avifauna, pollinator species and rich and diverse microorganisms thus adding to the overall biodiversity. As privately owned and cultivated homestead gardens the current shift in preferences of the community has affected the kunnivayal systems quite adversely. If this threshold system fails it may tip the balance, performance and diversity of vayal systems thereby affecting the overall ecological and socio-cultural fabric of the place. The project considers this as its premise and tries to find ways of preserving the system of kunnivayals. The project identifies kunnivayals as a regional level network which is resilient enough to address present day issues of floods, wildlife conflicts, and soil fertility. It looks at re-establishing this threshold as a corridor that weaves through the landscape fabric connecting vayals. settlements and the forests strengthening and sustaining it in a balanced and diverse manner. 

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Report Content

Traces | Tracing the landforms Western Ghats to Wayanad plateau

Traces | Identifying the location of the village and landscape grain of the setting.

Erasures | A threshold to nature & culture

Anomalies |Lose of ecologic and cultural values of kunnivayal system

Idea of palimpsest as a tool | Homestead garden as a threshold to vayal system

Detailed study and assessment of kunnivayal system- Documentation, systems study and components, empirical evaluation of values.

Site analysis and identification of potentials for each transect according to existing conditions of kunnivayal

Re-imagining kunnivayal | As a singular system and its components

Specific design interventions | Sections through stream beds and swales

Conclusion | The map depicts the existing patch of kunnivayal and its occurrence as a significant threshold as a linear and continuous system