House in Fontainhas, Panjim, Goa. Using no glass in the window, one can find very fine and straight ster shells are used instead. They are inserted into wooden frames, allowing the light to come in as if it is passing through paper
Church of St Anne, Talaulim, South Goa. The use of shell of oyster 'placuna placenta' which filters a soft and muted light was motivated by the need to illuminate and at the same time preserve the interiors of the Churches where social events could take place during the day
The house in Saligao, Goa. Oyster shells are undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic elements of construction in Goa. Their usage within architecture, has been synchronous to the arrival of the Portuguese in India
Heritage House, Shioli, North Goa. The nacre of the mother-of-pearl shell is fixed into wooden battens and used to cover windows.Some windows are also made with different opening mechanisms
Heritage House, Shioli, North Goa The indulgence of the translucent, but functional nacre of the mother-of-pearl can be seen in this shell window
Rebello Mansion in Anjuna, Goa. Artisticallyinstalled sea shells in the window, create a little muted light onto the porches of the otherwise boldly painted house
House in Saligao, North Goa. The nacre of the mother-of-pearl shell is also used in making the wooden walls and balusters at the entrance of this house,which also announces the high status of the owner amongst society
Arpora, North Goa. One of the assertions of the local Goan identity is the implementation of shells in the window
Old Heritage Inn, Loutulim, Goa. The overlapping nacre of the mother-of-pearl shells creates an organic and eye pleasing pattern across the wooden window
Heritage house converted into Commercial building at Saligao, North Goa. These intricately made windows can find themselves a place only in Heritage Goan houses. However, this is an example of how old architecture can be used as a modern building
House in Shioli, North Goa. An example of the traditional upper- class Goan housewhich has a beautifully made porchedentrance created by using shell and stained glass windows on both sides
Weathered ruins inBraganza House, Chandor, South Goa. It is almost 300 years old. Glass came to Goa as late as 1890 and remained an expensive building material well into the 20th century. Today some of the houses in Goa are decrepit and so are the windows
Windows have several significant roles to play. Primarily, they help in filtering air and sunlight provide a passageway for them, however they remain an artistically explored part of Goan Architecture. In some Goan houses the window screens are fashioned out of nacre they remain characteristic of the traditional upper - classes. It is unclear where or when exactly these type of windows originated. However, thenacre of the mother-of-pearl shell was preferred over glass as it allowed for a subdued filtered light to come into rooms of a house while affording privacy. This gave windows in Goan homes a warm, translucent look from the outside while cutting off the light's glare on the inside. While superior quality timber was often reserved for the production of altars and fine pieces of furniture in Goan houses, the timber used for windows was inferior in comparison.
The nacre of the mother-of-pearl, which is otherwise a waste material, was then cut into lozenge shapes and slid into wooden battens to give windows added value and beauty. The Goan craftsman today makes miniaturized replicas of these windows that can be sold as souvenir picture frames and can be placed on walls to add a touch of interest. Mother-of-pearl shell windows are often made for measurements in building sites but, they can also be custom-made to specification by artisans. It requires the ingenuity and skill of the old Goan craftsman to elevate the science of house construction to the level of art. In spite of the ethnic beauty that they can add into urban architecture, unfortunately there isn't much demand today for these windows; the craftsmen who make the mare rarely found and mostly, out of business.