AccScience Publishing / JCAU / Volume 6 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.36922/jcau.1979
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A study on the block pattern and spatial characteristics of gara in Surat, India

Chong Zhao1 Lu Zhang1* Kui Zhao2 Guoqianzhen Gan1
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1 Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban-Rural Planning, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China
2 Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban-Rural Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China
Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism 2024, 6(1), 1979
Submitted: 7 October 2023 | Accepted: 1 December 2023 | Published: 19 January 2024
© 2024 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

Surat is a major port and trading city in the northwestern state of Gujarat, India, boasting a rich multicultural background where colonial, religious, and commercial cultures coexist. Field research conducted on the historical districts of Surat indicates that the traditional residential buildings in Surat are not havelis; rather, their planar features bear a remarkable similarity to shophouses in Southeast Asia. The urban formation, spatial pattern of historical blocks, and architectural characteristics of Surat were thoroughly analyzed at three levels: macro, meso, and micro, using methods such as the examination of historical maps, reading historical literature, gathering oral histories, and conducting field investigations. The analysis of the political culture of Asian port cities reveals that Surat has been involved in cross-cultural exchanges in Asia. Through document analysis, the study delves into the formation process of Surat City and the spatial pattern of its historical blocks. To gain a comprehensive understanding, an exploration of the types of planes and profiles of the existing gara cases was carried out, along with a study of the spatial characteristics and evolution of gara. Finally, a comparative analysis between gara and the local architecture haveli was conducted, examining the factors for gara formation from multiple aspects, such as politics, religion, and policy. It can be concluded that the formation of Surat’s city and architecture was not only influenced by the spread of Asian culture at that time but also integrated with local traditional characteristics.

Historical blocks
Grid type block
Non-grid block
This study was supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (52078135) – “Research on the Spatial Organization Form and Formation Mechanism of Traditional Residential Buildings along the Haisi Road Based on Gene Map Identification.”

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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism, Electronic ISSN: 2717-5626 Published by AccScience Publishing