Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vasthukam Organic Architecture-Art or Architecture?

Given the serious threat that global warming poses to the world, green architecture is becoming more and more critical and important to us. In the US and European countries, almost all construction has to follow rules and codes that will make the buildings energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Even thought the concept is fast catching on in India, it is a long way behind the rest of the world. That is why I was so thrilled and impressed to come across an architectural company in Kerala, that is designing and building the most amazing structures out of an uncommon material that is inexpensive, plentiful, adaptable and most of all eco friendly AND beautiful - MUD!
Run by Mr. P.K.Sreenivasan, Vasthukam Organic Architecture is under the pursuit of bringing back the green earth! This is what he says -  "A building should be a biotic form. It should breathe life and exhale energy to the inmates who move around under the roof. It can be achieved only through sustainable construction solutions where a house becomes an inevitable part of nature and the people feel the splurge of nature both inside and outside. This intellectual pursuit takes us to the fusion of aesthetic sense, economic sense and common sense. There is a clear and vehement answer to those people who are still worried about the way they build houses. The answer is “Go back to the Nature and recapture the green we are losing day by day."

Mud is strong, smooth, tactile and sensuous. It is beautiful in its form: it adjusts to the weather and is extremely affordable. The surface treatments and finishes it allows for the interiors, gives architecture the opportunity to enter into the domain of art! Mud homes do exist in many parts of the country, but eschewing conventional methods, Mr. Sreenivasan developed a novel and refreshing mode of architecture. Using this he built "Anpu", his home. The 1900 sq ft house is built in the traditional Kerala "nalukettu" layout, with a central courtyard dominating the space.  While some flooring is composed of wooden planks retrieved from an abandoned house, the rest of the flooring is a made of a material made of hibiscus flowers, coconut shells, charcoal, kaajal and cement giving a smooth mirrored finish.
Take a look at these pictures and tell me if you don't find them simply amazing! You can almost feel the smoothness and the cooling comfort of the home. After seeing this home, why anyone would choose a material other than mud to build their homes, is a mystery!
Check out their website for some more mind blowing interiors and spaces!

Images courtesy September 2008 edition of Inside Outside!


Anonymous said...

This is stunning.

I love hearing stories like this. It gives me hope for the future, that intelligent people are working on creative solutions. There will be a tipping point once enough people start subscribing to eco-friendly construction.

indian yarn said...

i was in an apartment building in bombay, which was made 60 years ago.The best part of the apartment was circulation of air - we do not need an a/c nor a fan. and there is abundant light. I think this element is most forgotten these days -

Doesn't the mud keep everything cool?

I think everyone wants all the concrete considering the potential of resale. Psychological aspirations often are to imitate the palaces than build something eco friendly and conducive to human comfort,than the usual main stream stories.don't you think?

Kamini said...

Thank you both for your comments. Think of it..in the olden days did anyone even have an AC or a cooler? Big open rooms, lots of windows and light, good air ciculation...stone flooring, all these made for cooler spaces. If you go deep into the interiors of Gujarat you will find plenty of mud homes, cos thats how they stay cool! If i could rebuild my house of mud, I would do it in a heartbeat! Unfortunately, I think when mud becomes fashionable, only then will people really look at it seriously as a building material.