Museum Houses of Goa a Indo Portuguese Architecture. “Houses of Goa”, a unique museum by reputed architect Gerard da Cunha, encapsulates for posterity the phenomenal outcome of the amalgamation of eastern and western architectural styles. This museum in Goa have a strange but novel history. Though this museum have a long and rich history from times immemorial and much before the arrival of the portuguese, this encounter produced a culture and architecture which is unique. This museum showcases the houses which were the prime expression of the goan identity. The museum is built as a traffic island in Torda,Salvador-do-Mundo,Goa. Strangely enough it is in the shape of a triangle and resembles a ship. Viewed from the outside it is a mystery, but as you begin your visit, it slowly unfolds its charms. The highly creative architect claims that it is “our own Goan style. Goans, who were people who were converted, were looking for a new identity, and thus embarked on the experiment in architecture, to produce something unique an.
“Houses of Goa”, a unique museum by reputed architect Gerard da Cunha, encapsulates for posterity the phenomenal outcome of the amalgamation of eastern and western architectural styles. When asked about how he has conceived the museum concept, he says that; being an architect it is my responsibility to document the architecture as a local, who has thrived in this place” picturesque Salvador do Mundo village in Bardez. So he created a ship-like structure to house all the goodness in Goan architecture, which would otherwise be lost. It is very important for us to document it, to enjoy it.
At the first level, he depicts Goa in the context of the world, and then goes on to display the wealth of Goan architecture on the first floor. On the second floor, delves into the details of Goan architecture: the doors, windows, railings, construction material, furniture, etc. And on the top he shows the “final amalgamation”. And the whole story is being unwound here with a slide show every evening.
Despite being located away from the Panjim-Mapusa highway, nearly 1000 people have already visited the place so far. The bulk of the visitors have been students of architecture, nearly 300 of them have been from outside Goa, drawn by the fame that has gathered around Gerard by virtue of his phenomenal success as an exponent of natural architecture as well as the impressive designs he has produced for various institutions including townships. He says that it is a mixed bag of visitors otherwise, some big personalities visiting occasionally.
Like a modern-day Noah setting out with his special arch with a specimen of every Goan tradition, Gerald da Cunha takes you on an eventful voyage, showing you “Goa in the context of the world, the wealth of Goan architecture and the details of various elements” that make Goan houses so special. A painstaking collection of doors, windows, a rare hat stand, old French doors from a house in Margao built in 1917, old tiles from late nineteenth century, old china mosaic patterns of different houses, how mud walls are made, how shells are recovered from the river, a glass tile, the dressed laterite, 16th and 17th century tiles imported from Europe, old terracotta tiles, religious pictures, altars, statues, etc.
Aboard the “Houses of Goa”, the ambience is enchanting, enjoyable. There is soft music backing up Gerard’s detailed description of each item, as only someone who is so deeply engrossed in things Goan can do so.
On the walls hang pictures of imposing, important buildings in the world on one panel and beside is another panel with equally important Goan monuments, showing when they were built, so that one can compare what was being built while the Se Cathedral was being built in Goa somewhere else in the world.