Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekly Words No. 12


A bungalow is a type of house, with varying  meanings  across the world. Common features to many (but not all) of these definitions include being detached, low-rise (single or one-and-a-half stories), and the use of verandahs. The term originated in India, deriving from the Gujarati baṅgalo, which in turn derives from Hindi baṅglā, meaning "Bengali" and used elliptically for a "house in the Bengal style". Such houses were traditionally small, only one story and detached, and had a wide veranda.

Modern Indian multi-storied bungalow in an affluent area near Bangalore, India.

The term was first found in English from 1696, where it was used to describe "bungales or hovells" in India for English sailors of the East India Company, which do not sound like very grand lodgings. Later it became used for the spacious homes or official lodgings of officials of the British Raj, and was so known in Britain and later America, where it initially had high status and exotic connotations, and began to be used in the late 19th century for large country or suburban houses built in an Arts and Crafts or other Western vernacular style - essentially as large cottages, a term also sometimes used. Later developers began to use the term for smaller houses.

A typical side-gabled bungalow in Louisville's Deer Park Neighborhood, United States.

In Australia, the California bungalow was popular after the First World War.

Californian bungalow style home in the Sydney suburb of Roseville.

Double-story Californian bungalow-inspired style home in the Sydney suburb of Lindfield.

In Britain and North America a bungalow today is a residential house, normally detached, which is either single story, or has a second story built into a sloping roof, usually with dormer windows ("one and a half stories"). Full vertical walls are therefore only seen on one story, at least on the front and rear elevations. Usually the houses are relatively small, especially from recent decades, though early examples may be large, in which case the term bungalow tends not to be used today.

No comments: