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What some have said about this book:


    "I think your work is most original….This will, I am sure open a new vista to the practice of taq and dhajji dewari in the present era and go further into the next, rather than to see our heritage perish before our eyes. It can be the start of a new era of research for the future students of architecture who crave for vernacular architecture."


    "There was a time when every effort by everyone was to change things, [whether] for good or bad….That honeymoon is [now] over. Man should have learned sooner that [the] old is not some thing to be rejected. This book will open his eyes as to where we went wrong."

Rajinder Chaku, Architect, Kashmir & Canada


Houses in Srinagar overlooking the River Jhelum

    "Langenbach’s writing is excellent – astonishingly clear, honest and open.  It's like the traditional buildings – it breaths and it welcomes.  He really builds up one's understanding from scratch."

    "He makes the subject accessible and enjoyable, fascinating even – and I say this as someone who runs away from anything that has to do with engineering, forces and physics. He strikes a great balance between science and art, how things work and what makes them so beautiful and so worth preserving."

Amir Soltani, Journalist, Iran and USA

The Jalali Manzil in Srinagar

Don't Tear It Down! has been produced by the UNESCO New Delhi Office

The book is © Randolph Langenbach 2009

UNESCO New Delhi
B-5/29, Safdarjun Enclave
New Delhi, 110 029
+91-11-26 71 3000

Produced in Association with:

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Government of Jammu and Kashmir
Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs
Kashmir Earthquake Relief (KER)

Republished in the USA and Europe
by Oinfroin Media, Oakland, California, and distributed through Ingram Book Group. 


Official USA and Europe publication date:

September 20, 2009

Don't Tear It Down!
Preserving the Earthquake Resistant Vernacular Architecture of Kashmir

Text and Photographs By
Randolph Langenbach


by UNESCO in India
June 2009


in the USA and Europe by Oinfroin Media
September 2009


To obtain copies worldwide, CLICK HERE

Don’t Tear it Down, Preserving the Earthquake-Resistant Vernacular Architecture of Kashmir is not the usual kind of work on architecture. Its aim has not been to document the archaeological monuments of the Vale of Kashmir, but rather to make the case for the preservation of the traditional domestic architecture – buildings often of humble origins – that make up the urban form of Srinagar and the other cities in Kashmir.

The work is also unusual in that it makes the case for preservation, not in spite of the antiquated construction of these buildings, but because of it. It is framed on the capacity of the best examples of Kashmiri traditional construction to resist one of Nature’s most prodigious forces – earthquakes.

By discussing two traditional forms of construction found in Kashmir: taq and dhajji dewari, this book documents an often ignored architectural heritage and a construction tradition that has demonstrated a level of earthquake-resistance that experts have even proposed as the basis of ideas for how to improve the earthquake performance of modern structures of reinforced concrete.
Taq construction showing the timber lacing embedded into the masonry walls The timber frame of dhajji dewari construction shown before infill masonry is added

The book is a product of UNESCO’s mission to advance scientific understanding. It includes a detailed educational ‘Primer on Structural Concepts of Earthquake Safety’ and a lengthy section on how to maintain, repair and strengthen the heritage buildings of Srinagar and Kashmir. This book is the culmination of a UNESCO initiative that has included a two-day workshop on the Repair and Retrofitting of Traditional and Vernacular Structures in Kashmir, organized by the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir, UNESCO and UNDP at the Sheri Kashmiri International Convention Centre in Srinagar on 14 and 15 June 2007, and the distribution of a Handbook and publication of the posters in both English and Urdu seen on the home page of this website and on the UNESCO website.

A description of this UNESCO initiative can be found on the UNESCO Website by CLICKING HERE.

However, it is more than a technical manual. Its author, international heritage preservation consultant Randolph Langenbach, also brings to it a vision of how the heritage buildings of Kashmir can become an armature on which to help rebuild people’s pride of place and form the basis for both economic and quality of life improvements to Kashmir’s human environment.
CLICK HERE to see a "Snapshot" of sample pages from the book. The book is 152 pages with full color photographs and graphics. 

The Table of Contents:

  • Foreword

  • Acknowledgements

  • Introduction

  • 1. Kashmir’s Earthquake Resistant Traditional Construction

  • 2. An Introduction to Structural Concepts of
    Earthquake Safety

  • 3. Why it Works: Taq and Dhajji Dewari in Earthquakes

  • 4. The Repair and Strengthening of Taq and
    Dhajji Dewari Buildings

  • 5. Taq and Dhajji Dewari vs. Reinforced Concrete:
    Traditional is Modern

  • Appendix 1: The Kathmandu, Nepal Comparison

  • Appendix 2: Glossary of Technical Terms

  • Footnotes

  • Sources and References

  • Index


For more information, please write to:

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Website produced, designed, and maintained by

© Randolph Langenbach
M-Arch (Harvard), Dipl.Conservation (York, England)


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