The Thinnai is a raised platform adjoining the main entrance of a house facing the street. This is a place where people gather together and chitchat during the day. The Thinnai separates the public space from the private. Some Thinnais will have only a wooden bench. While others may be made of cement or will have richly decorated Teak wood columns.
The Thinnai was a multi-functional space. The inhabitants of the house used to sit hours together on the Thinnai to chit-chat with family members, relatives or neighbors. Strangers were asked to wait on the Thinnai and were served water or food. Passers-by used to take shelter to escape from the summer sun and rest a little before continuing their journey. Farmers used to keep their harvest like paddy or grains in bags during the harvesting seasons.
The Modern Architecture of Tamilnadu shifted from a social pattern, a pattern that was inclusive of the local community, to the architecture that gives more importance to private spaces and privacy. It has no space or time left for social interaction with the neighboring community.