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1) HISTORY - INTRODUCTION. - WHAT IS VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE ??? - INFLUENCE OF VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. - PRINCIPLES OF DOMESTIC VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE 2) CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES. - FACTORS INFLUSING VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE - METHODS IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE - STRUCTUAL ROMANCE WITH BAMBOO, BY INSPIRATION WHY BAMBOO………..??? 3) WHAT IS AUROVILLE ? 4) WHAT IS ORGANIC IN ARCHITECTURE……??? 5) EARTHEN ARCHITECTUR IN AUROVILLE LINKING A WORLD TRADITIONAL WITH MODERNITY. 6) ARCHITECTS IN VERNACULAR
7) PROJECTS IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. - FARM HOUSE, NADHAWADE, SINDHUDURRG,MAHARASHTRA INDIA. - INFLUENCES OF INDIGENOUS, FORMS AND CULTURE ON ARCHITECTS. - PRARTHNA. 8) VANISHING VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE……….??? 9) CONCLUSION.
local needs. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context in which it exists. It has often been dismissed as crude and unrefined, but also has proponents who highlight its importance in current design. It can be contrasted against polite architecture which is characterised by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building's functional requirements. “...a building designed by an amateur without any training in design; the individual will have been guided by a series of conventions built up in his locality, paying little attention to what may be fashionable. The function of the building would be the dominant factor, aesthetic considerations, though present to some small degree, being quite minimal. local materials would be used as a matter of course, other materials being chosen and
1) HISTORY:The term vernacular is derived from the Latin vernaculus, meaning "domestic, native, indigenous"; from verna, meaning "native slave" or "home-born slave". The word probably derives from an older Etruscan word. In linguistics, vernacular refers to language use particular to a time, place or group. In architecture, it refers to that type of architecture which is indigenous to a specific time or place (not imported or copied from elsewhere). It is most often applied to residential buildings The term is not to be confused with so-called "traditional" architecture, though there are links between the two. Traditional architecture can also include buildings which bear elements of polite design; temples and palaces, for example, which normally would not be included under the rubric of "vernacular." In architectural terms, 'the vernacular' can be contrasted with 'the polite', which is characterised by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated by a professional architect for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building's functional requirements. Between the extremes of the wholly vernacular and the completely polite, examples occur which have some vernacular and some polite content, often making the differences between the vernacular and the polite a matter of degr
imported quite exceptionally………..”
The Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World defines vernacular architecture as: “...comprising the dwellings and all other buildings of the people. Related to their environmental contexts and available resources they are customarily owner- or communitybuilt, utilizing traditional technologies. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce them…….”
3) INFLUENCE OF VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE.
Vernacular architecture is influenced by a great range of different aspects of human behaviour and environment, leading to differing building forms for almost every different context; even neighbouring villages may have subtly different approaches to the construction and use of their dwellings, even if they at first appear the same. Despite these variations, every building is subject to the same laws of physics, and hence will demonstrate significant similarities in structural forms. A) Climate. B) Culture. C) Environment and material. 2
2) WHAT IS VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE………???
Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorise methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address
A) CLIMATE:One of the most significant influences on vernacular architecture is the macro climate of the area in which the building is constructed. Buildings in cold climates invariably have high thermal mass or significant amounts of insulation. They are usually sealed in order to prevent heat loss, and openings such as windows tend to be small or non-existent. Buildings in warm climates, by contrast, tend to be constructed of lighter materials and to allow significant crossventilation through openings in the fabric of the building. Buildings for a continental climate must be able to cope with significant variations in temperature, and may even be altered by their occupants according to the seasons. Buildings take different forms depending on precipitation levels in the region - leading to dwellings on stilts in many regions with frequent flooding or rainy monsoon seasons. Flat roofs are rare in areas with high levels of precipitation. Similarly, areas with high winds will lead to specialised buildings able to cope with them, and buildings will be
people interact and many other cultural considerations will affect the layout and size of dwellings. For example, the family units of several East African tribes live in family compounds, surrounded by marked boundaries, in which separate single-roomed dwellings are built to house different members of the family. In polygamous tribes there may be separate dwellings for different wives, and more again for sons who are too old to share space with the women of the family. Social interaction within the family is governed by, and privacy is provided by, the separation between the structures in which family members live. By contrast, in Western Europe, such separation is accomplished inside one dwelling, by dividing the building into separate rooms. Culture also has a great influence on the appearance of vernacular buildings, as occupants often decorate buildings in accordance with local customs and beliefs.
C)ENVIRONMENT AND MATERIAL:The local environment and the construction materials it can provide governs many aspect of vernacular architecture. Areas rich in trees will develop a wooden vernacular, while areas without much wood may use mud or stone. In the Far East it is common to use bamboo, as it is both plentiful and versatile. Vernacular, almost by definition, is sustainable, and will not exhaust the local resources. If it is not sustainable, it is not suitable for its local context, and cannot be vernacular. Toda hut, Indian vernacular architecture
oriented to present minimal area to the direction of prevailing winds.
Climatic influences on vernacular architecture are substantial and can be extremely complex. Mediterranean vernacular, and that of much of the Middle East, often includes a courtyard with a fountain or pond; air cooled by water mist and evaporation is drawn through the building by the natural ventilation set up by the building form. Similarly, Northern African vernacular often has very high thermal mass and small windows to keep the occupants cool, and in many cases also includes chimneys, not for fires but to draw air through the internal spaces. Such specialisations are not designed, but learnt by trial and error over generations of building construction, often existing long before the scientific theories which explain why they work..
B) CULTURE:The way of life of building occupants, and the way they use their shelters, is of great influence on building forms. The size of family units, who shares which spaces, how food is prepared and eaten, how 3
house construction was traditionally the task of a village’s master mason (mu’allim) who selected. houses mirror the needs. in consulation with the clients. usually with participation from the owner’s whole family. More than the architectural of secular or religious institutions. one of the common plan types and proceeded without any formal documents. desires. The houses was built by simply following tradition. and living habits of a time because they are the direct result of the interaction between people and their environment.4) PRINCIPLES OF DOMESTIC VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE • The vernacular dwelling is the unconscious expression of a people’s culture.along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. • In Lebanon and adjacent areas of the Middle East.we can see in the evolution of house types a simple and frugal society that created habitat with elementary means but insight into the functional requirements and the potential of available materials • Before the 20th century. 4 .
Primarily being an agricultural community where the Brahmins were land owners the spatial organisation of the house reflects the occupation and the religious relevance . The public wells – a key community interactive utility have been totally left have been rendered non-functional. with the temple forming the main focus. The row of houses (tube houses) is either single or 2 storied with the traditional pitched roof striking a significant profile against the sky – the imageability context.The affluent had the second stage (rendaamkettu) which included a semi covered area for the cattle and the rear yard (kollai) with the toilets. The rooms (aria) were attached to the hall which was then followed by the kitchen (adukalai) which finally culminated in another open space (mittam) which completed the typology of an onaamkettu (first stage) house.• The houses were built of the materials furnished by the environments and embededed in hilly landscapes humanized by countless terraces. The porch (thinnai) forms the semi public space – a transition from the public arena (theruvu – street) to the realms of the habitable space – the house.The house was organized around a courtyard with rooms around – typical offshoot from the illams and tharavads of Kerala. This then led to a large hall (koodam) with an open area (nadumittam) which was a feature similar to the courtyard. streams (ozhukku) and the rivers (puzha) facilitated the purpose. The upper storeys were the machi (on top). semi-public and private areas. there was a long. sloping roofs being replaced by the flat roofs with a variety of precast concrete motifs forming the parapet. narrow passage leading to the interiors. on one side of which would be the grain store (pathayam) below which was the nilavara or the nilavarakundu. Linear in organisation. The concept of bathrooms was unheard of as the village ponds (kulam). ornamental brackets. The complete neglect of traditional techniques of construction and materials that once harmonized the entire settlement sees an ensemble pertaining to availability of local materials and modern techniques b)Spatial Organisation d)Identity Elements and spaces that rendered Imageability. the place of storage of valuable assets. The temple tank forms an interactive community space with the Peepal tree (sthalavriksham) forming another focal element. The Vedic schools (Vedhapaatashala) have lost its ethnic charm and the settlements are caught in the quagmire of change. character and style to these agraharams needs to be explored in the current scenario as they are no longer evident. a)Form and Pattern The form of these agraharams could be understood as a derivative of a grid pattern. columns of the thinnai have been seeing shades of changes with grilles enclosing the thinnai for security reasons. The house of the Brahmins perfectly fits the laws of linear organisation with a clear demarcation of spaces as public. The arai. is the store and the pathayam (granary) or the grain store is a take – off from the Kerala style. the culmination point being the temple as the early settlements were by the priests who were Vedic scholars who attached themselves to the religious activities. The dwajasthambam of the temple stills holds reign to the settlement with the heights of the houses rising only upto the line of control specified by this vertical element. Orgination of spaces:5 . The well was located in the open space near the kitchen or at the rear end (Kerala Iyers Trust) c)Vernacular The pitched roofs. The sunken portions were classified as the thalvaram and conversely the raised areas in the house were broadly categorized as the melvaram.From the verandah. They were a clear response to simple needs of protection and survival.
Clay brick is a traditional building material used for centuries in many parts of the world. The simplest technique is based on the use of sun-baked blocks. Moreover. Adobe construction offers a very limited seismic resistance. 7 . there are a few strategies for improved earthquake resistance of these buildings. clay. Such construction is called “dressed-stone masonry. This type of construction is widespread in many different cultures. mainly in the form of uncourse (random) stone-rubble construction. column– beam or panel-beam) and their ability to transfer the forces from one building member to another and then down to the foundation. • Use of timber to reinforce earthen walls. stone and Masonry construction • Αdobe (mud blocks or whole walls) • Μasonry (stone. however. In many areas. In some cases. Timber reinforcement can be added to increase ductility and secure the connections. or concrete blocks) • Τimber construction The most widespread vernacular housing construction involves the use of masonry walls as the load-bearing structure.” 1)EARTHEN CONSTRUCTION Earthen dwellings utilize mud walls or adobe block walls. Unshaped stone blocks collected in the field have also been used for housing construction for centuries. a secure roof-to wall connection is essential for satisfactory earthquake performance.The advantages of timber housing construction stem from the use of timber. generally classified as adobe. the stones have been shaped. If possible. Stone is the locally available material in some regions. the use of timber construction is limited by the local availability of suitable wood materials. especially among poor populations that do not have access to more sophisticated building materials. 3)TIMBER CONSTRUCTION Examples of traditional wooden houses are found throughout Japan and the Russian Federation . The use of burnt clay bricks is widespread where wood or coal fuel is available. Timber reinforcement must be adequately protected against humidity and insects (such as termites in Africa and India) in order to ensure long-term structural integrity. In order to achieve desirable seismic performance. the locally available resources have governed the use of the following constituent materials for walls: • Earthen construction. described in the previous section.2)STONE AND BRICK MASONRY CONSTRUCTION CONSTRUCTIONS TECHNIQUES A) FACTORS INFLUENCING VERNACULAR CONSTRUCTION Locally Available Materials The first factor influencing the development of vernacular construction practices is related to the availability of local building materials. It should be noted that the wood is quite vulnerable to the effects of humidity and insects. A critical issue in timber construction is related to the connections (floor-beam. it is crucial that the floor plan be absolutely regular. it should be symmetrical in both orthogonal directions. a lightweight and ductile building material. usually by hand tools. These strategies are as follows: • Good choice of building shape (preferably a circular floor plan). • Use of a lightweight roof to reduce the mass on top of the walls.
Adobe bricks are only sun-dried. Adobe bricks can be easily cut for fitting and can be provided with holes for reinforcing and services. When used for construction they are laid up into a wall using an earth mortar.cavity between them. This is normally done with the provision of adequate eaves. Other benefits include low sound transmission levels through walls and a general feeling of solidity and security. If produced manually the earth mix is cast in open moulds onto the ground and then left to dry out. The small Adobe units provide great flexibility in the design and construction of earth buildings. the finished walls are smoothed down. The risk of extensive shrinkage and cracking. not kiln-fired. especially in exposed situations. non-toxic building material which provide sufficient thermal mass to buildings to ensure excellent thermal performance. c) Cavity Wall Cavity wall consists of two walls with a 5cm to 8cm. durable yet biodegradable. Adobe bricks are a fireproof. Before drying out.Many people find the pattern and texture of Adobe walls very attractive. -Advantages of Adobe bricks : Making use of Adobe bricks is probably one of the simplest forms of earth building. Adobe bricks have good water resistance.which probably used in vernacular contruction. Nevertheless it is very important to provide adequate weather protection of the earth walls. a)The Adobe Brick (Mud Brick) Adobe bricks (mud bricks) are made of earth with a fairly high clay content and straw. Due to the production process and the nature of clay. Often a clay render is applied as a surface coating. The outer 8 . is prevented. B) METHODS IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE Adobe Brick (mud bricks) Rat trap Bond Cavity Wall Filler Slab b) Rat Trap Bon : It is bond.One of the biggest advantages of the Adobe system is that it allows the individual units or bricks to shrink before they are placed in the wall. which would otherwise occur in soils of high clay content in a large monolithic wall.
covering an area of 6000Sqm. has a higher strength than the other two materials. . 33% grows in Latin America. and the rest in Africa and Oceania.wall also known as outer leaf. It definitely scores above other types of timber. material may be takenfrom a 60 hectare bamboo plantation. The treatment process may or may not be polluting – the choice is in our hands. steel and timber.Ernakulam. Being the fastest growing grass in the world (one canliterally SEE and HEAR bamboo grow – the species Phyllostachys Edullis can grow upto 120cm/day!) it is ahigh yielding renewable material resource. bamboo 9 Our other non-building but structural uses bamboo include the following: Our own office and an experiment where we have attempted to develop a technology forusing premises in Eroor. If an equivalent project used timber. Comparisons It is very much light in weight compared tosteel.. This diversity makes bamboo adaptable to many environments. To build 1000 houses of bamboo annually. walls and roofs in ways that meet our contemporary needs. With about 125 species. All natural treatment methods are of course non-polluting and chemical treatment methods can be managed in a non-polluting way by using nontoxic chemicals and re-cycling / re-using the chemicals used for treatment and taking all other necessary precautions. This high strength and low weight factor of bamboo means that it inherently has a capability to be earthquake and cyclone resistant. The soil atSarovaram is of a weak marineclay kind and the site isbordered by backwaters on the western side.Kerala. The provision of a continous cavity in the wall efficiency prevents the transmission of dampness to the inner wall Advantages -They are economical -They have good sound insulation property. Bamboo generates a crop every year. With a 10-30% annual increase in biomass versus 2 to 5% fortrest.the availability of bamboo resources in India is the second largest in the world ranking only behind China. It scores comparably with mild steel. A sixty foot bamboo cut for market takes 59 days to replace. Here are 1500 species of bamboo on the earth. .consists of a 10 cm( half brick) thick wall and the inner wall is sufficiently thick and strong to carry the imposed load safely. spread across eighteen genera.an effort for which we have been honoured with the National award by HUDCO. Why or how is bamboo ecofriendly? Being a naturally growing material it is nonenergy-intensive in the sense that no energy is used as such in its ‘production’. d)Filler slab A) Structural Romance with Bamboo by Inspiration Why Bamboo? 64 % of the bamboo species are native to South east Asia. A sixty foot tree cut for the market takes 60 years to replace. it would require 500 hectares of forest cover. with some considering a few bamboo species to be even stronger than steel in terms of comparative stiffness factor and tensile strength..the minimum thickness of the inner wall is restricted to 10cm(half brick). bamboo creates greater yields of raw material for use. Some Projects One of earliest usageof bamboo constitutes abamboo reinforced road base. One clump can produce 200 poles in the three to five years. at Hotel Sarovaram. covering an area of 2750 Sft. is a first of its kind structure bamboo in floors. . It can be harvested in 3-5 years versus 10-20 years for most softwoods. timber or concrete and has a higher strength by weight ratio than steel and timber which means that for equal weights of bamboo. belonging to BTH Group of hotels.It is nonpolluting in its growth (unless of course chemical fertilizers are used) or even after it has been harvested and when it is being used.
All bamboo used has been given preservative treatment. 400kg per sq. the entire dead weight of the building has been reduced to almost 1/3rd of a similar building done with conventional RCC slabs and masonry walls. The two storied building is built on column footings about 3feet deep. the building is a framed structure designed for a loading condition of approx. The structure stands on stilts.Basically. ROOF ROOF Details wall interior Wall corner We at Inspiration have the backing of over 15 years of research done in structural application of bamboo by Shri 10 . This has helped in bringing down the cement and steel consumption by almost 70%. which reduces the chances of dampness seeping in as well as the attack on the bamboo by wood by rodents and insects.The other advantages are the thermal insulation provided by the hollow cavity of bamboo and additional carpet area because of reduced wall thickness. The basic advantage is that because bamboo is a light material.m live load and to withstand wind speeds of up to 200 km per hour.
R.net 11 . floors and roofs.K. Datye and Shri V. numbering 30.inspir Bamboo House Research Project With Kerala Forest Institute. Gore of Geo-Scienc Services. Use of full bamboo screen and reconstituted bamboo-wood composite for soil retaining structure.N. Mumbai • • • • • • • • • Preservative treatment of bamboo with non-toxic pressure treatment Preservative treatment of bamboo using coal tar Creosote oil. Cold dip with LOSP (Liquid Organic Solvent Preservative)treatment. Use of Re-constituted bamboo-wood composite for soil retaining walls for construction of water retaining structures. with the highlight being making use of the available bamboo on site for the entire construction – walls. Tamil Nadu An exquisite reteat with an wholesome treatment facility along with deluxe and executive cottages. Use of Split bamboo and reinforced plaster combination in walling. Chennai. Use of combination of Geo-fabrics and preservative split bamboo mesh for reinforcement in clayey soil as road base. Use of bamboo crating for packing dry rubble as retaining Cholayil MEDIMIX Ayurvedic Retreat. inspiration@eth. Web: ww w. Use of Split bamboo and reinforced plaster combination in floor slab and roof slab.
one where all might live together in peace and harmony. breathing life into all their activities. This truth is most strikingly reflected in the organic architecture of its town plan. ins Bamboo for partition walls FROM DUST TO DAWN Raven Le Fay describes how an eroded landscape was turned into a beautiful eco-city and improved the local climate in the process. Together they envisioned a great future for humanity. WHAT IS AUROVILLE? The name Auroville means ‘City of Dawn’ and refers to the dawning of a new consciousness. a galaxy shape that spirals out over 5 square kilo-metres (2 square miles).Kerala. and an inaugural urn that contains earth from 124 countries as a symbol of international harmony. a spiritual collaborator of the philosopher and yogi Sri Aurobindo. The Matrimandir (‘Temple of the Mother’) sits in the centre alongside an ancient banyan tree. industrial. It was conceived and founded in the late 1960s by the French visionary known as ‘The Mother’.000 people from 35 countries currently live in Auroville. Auroville intends to realise this dream of human unity. and surrounding everything 12 Bamboo office for socio Economic Unit Foundation . and spiritual evolution is their driving force. The city is divided into four directional zones: cultural. 2. It is a place for the spiritual evolution of humanity: an awaken-ing of the divine consciousness that lives in us all.Prefabricated bamboo house at Kallara. international and residential. an amphitheatre for ceremony and ritual.
Extensive networks of raised earth bank and ditches called ‘bunds’ were placed along the contours of the land. As they became more skilled and efficient in their work. birds 13 . organic farming. using a high compression ratio of 1. and simple to implement and maintain. SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION When the Auroville pioneers arrived. Fences have made from thorn and cactus to protect the vegetation from grazing.000 specimens from the native forest. Keen to integrate appropriate technology into their designs. APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY Having established vegetation and water control. or conventional building materials on the one hand. and efforts are focused on recreating the native vegetation of a tropical dry evergreen forest. Both have seed banks to protect forest biodiversity. Auroville’s botanical gardens have a 20 hectare (50 acre) plot that is being developed into a research and demonstration site with over 5. millions of trees have been planted behind bunds. The presses are robust. they slowly developed an integrated soil and water conservation strategy that restored the fertility of the land. be inexpensive. Through careful observation and listening to local traditional knowledge. regeneration of the environment was their first concern. Aurovillians turned their efforts towards the bioregion. erosion control. This in turn further enriches the environment through seed dissemina-tion and fertilization. they placed features near the top of the watershed following the topography. prevent saltwater intrusion and conserve water for irrigation. They were both constrained and motivated by such factors as no electricity. transportation. along with a series of earth check dams and catchment ponds. The Auroville Earth Institute and Centre for Sustainable Research (CSR) have developed a successful manual press to create Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) that are used like bricks. Initially both native and non-native species were planted. and finances were limited. The basic building material was an obvious choice. Pitchandikulum Bio-Resource Centre also has a 20 hec-tare (50 acre) forest where it has collected over 440 indigenous plant species. which facilitates more plant growth. Solutions had to use local people and materials. an area dedicated to the promotion of biodiversity. REFORESTATION Since the 1970s. It has become cooler and more humid. As the vegetation has grown the microclimate has changed. firewood and building materials. wastewater treatment and renewable energy systems. in an attempt to recharge the aquifers. protect from rain. Today. Now these trees are harvested.000 accurate blocks per day of adjustable height and shape (including hollow blocks that save on material and give insulation). reforestation. since earth was abundant on site. and brings in many species of animals. they aimed for solutions suitable to the climate that would incorporate passive solar features. and an abundant but unskilled labour force on the other.83 with 13. There was no electricity. Work units ‘Palmyra’ and ‘Water Harvest’ are currently targeting the rehabilitation of an ancient network of community catchment tanks that once covered the land. and runs a revitalization pro-gramme for medicinal plant traditions. but the Australian ‘work tree’ (Acacia auriculiformis or Darwin Black Wattle) became invasive and crowded out other species. as a microclimate moderator. reduce energy consumption and utilise rainwater har-vesting. machinery. and through trial and error succeeded in their goals. and insects. Auro-villians started building their infrastructure.5 metric tons (15 tons) available force. next to dams and ponds. water or shade. Learning the hard way to work with nature.is the ‘green belt’. and produce up to 1. and as a sacred sanctuary. and sustainable research. the Auroville forest is acknowledged and safeguarded as an invaluable resource for the community: for medicine. food.
durable. WHAT IS ORGANIC IN ARCHITECTURE…. it has proven to be a very cost-effective and highly efficient building material that is adaptable. and is made possible through the blocks’ adhesive properties with the clay mortar. cheap. • Presently organic architecture forms the foundation and mother of all architecture sustainable architecture. Currently Auroville has over 40 water treatment systems of small to moderate size many using horizontal or vertical planted filter beds. Auroville has had great success in the use of ferrocement. alternative architecture. The first wastewater recycling solutions that Auroville developed were simple. but lime or bitumen can also be used.WASTE WATER TREATMENT In Auroville. While not a truly sustainable solution. the blocks are stabilised with 3-5% cement to prevent water erosion. also called constructed wetlands or root zone treatment systems. The blocks are adaptable and can be used without support or form. ecological. The term “organic architecture” wascoined by the famous architect. biogas plants and at least one Living Machine. European funds enabled the CSR to research and develop planted filters. Along with earth construction. Recently Auroville has been researching Effective Microorganism (EM) technology to improve system performance.Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959). Many buildings in Auroville demon-strate this through vaulted floor and roof designs. bio architecture and so on. inexpensive combinations of septic tank and soak pit. CEBs are energy efficient (using bet-ween 5 and 15 times less energy to make than a fired brick). where a thin cement mortar is laid over steel wire meshing that acts as reinforcement. This technique is known as free-spanning or Nubian. and the technology is easily transferable.??? Integrating humanhabitat with thenatural world. • 14 . Later. ecology. and also using baffled tank reactors..
It is well integratedwith its site and has a unified. multifaceted. connected to a particular moment and site. idiosyncratic and environmentally known. radical.Organic Architecture describes an expression of individuality.• Organic architecture develops itself from inside to outside. F.from the interior life (that flows in space)to outdoor. joy and love.L. It is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world throughdesign approaches. . site and time (three variables). It gives respect to natural materials blending into the surroundings and honest expression of the function of the building with relation of each piece to the whole and the whole to the surroundings. Bruce Goff. which is never be the result of an imposed style. • Organic Architecture is influenced by Biophilia (love of life – nature or living system). Vernacular is a characteristic style common to a particular region. Patterns and forms in nature such as the spiral and fractal are products of internal laws of growth and of the action of external forces such as sun. culture or period. freedom. interrelated rather a reinterpretation of nature’s principles to build forms more natural than nature itself. but unique and unrepeatable because it is related to the man. many eminent WHAT IS ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE? • • • ECOLOGICAL + INDIVIDUAL’S= ORGANIC Organic architecture is the outcome of the feelings of life. There should be marriage in between the site and the structure and a union in between the context and the structure. or of super sense if we prefer determining form by way of the nature of materials. Rudolf Steiner. Bruno Zevi and most recently Anton Alberts and Laurie Baker are all famous for their work related to Organic Architecture. • It also embodies the human spirit. Temperature flows also behave better in curvilinear interiors. based on natural form sand structures and simple local materials. In modern & post modern period. wind and water. non cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past. wind and water.fraternity. • Primitive vernacular architecture was innately organic. Architects could create swooping arches without visible beams or pillars. It also explores our need to connect to nature. based on natural forms and structures and simple local materials. • It is a total harmonized blending of outdoor and indoor space. Organic shapes and forms that elicit a human affinity for nature.It is visually poetic. Architects Gustav Stickley. • • OBJECTIVES • It is not a style. like integrity. Louis Sullivan. AntoniGaudi. transcending the mere act of providing shelter from surroundings which shapes and enhances our lives. • It has more of a vernacular approach. Wright. • Patterns and forms in nature such as the spiral and fractal are products of internal laws of growth and of the action of external forces such assun. FLW was not concerned with architectural style. because he believed that every building should grow naturally from its environment and it should exalt the simple laws of common sense. EXPLORING ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE • • Organic Architecture does describe environmental concerns. harmony. nature and the human built environment. present or future. • • • • • • Vernacular Architecture consists of buildings or landscapes that affirm a distinctive material. 15 • Primitive vernacular architecture was innately organic. Architecture has an inherent relationship with both its site and its time. It promotes a more positive link between man and nature. A building is a product of its place and itstime intimately. flexible and surprising. • Organic Architecture is not a style of imitation but composition consisting of buildings and its surroundings. affinity for place and holds the promise of achieving a compatible and sustainable relationship between people. beauty.
he explores a jewel like exercise in geometry and simplicity. Zambian vernacular architecture isorganic. Antonio Gaudi. • other eminent Indian Architect. 16 . • The design of brick jail promotes natural air movement to cool the homes interior and create intricate patterns of light and shadow. Instead wavy lines and curved shapes suggest natural forms. Gobhai Mountain Lodge. • The buildings are aesthetically beautiful. keeping the essence of organic architecture which is more comfortable to the inhabitants with natural surroundings. because most of the natural aspects are curvilinear and asymmetrical in shape. low-cost and high quality. beautiful and most importantly comfortably integrated with the local climate. Nari Gandhi views. Spanish architect designed sculpturally the creative and irregular organic form. • In his design of Gobhai Mountain lodge. the • Rajmachi hilltop fort and the Valvan lake below. which the verandahs overlook. culture and harvest cycles • In India the famous architect Laurie Baker designed the buildings with local materials.• • Modern organic designs are never linear or rigidly geometric. Mainstream architecture is also adopting outward organic forms. Nari Gandhi uses ‘art of craft’ in order to achieve an organic and sensorial architecture with an ethos towards the spiritual.
Fresh air input and builtin energy efficient lights are among the features. • A building should grow from its site as nature grows from the inside out and shaped by the forces which surround it. Its plan. economical. Every aspect of TZED has been designed to conserve the natural resources and to have minimal impact on the environment. But vernacular architecture worldwide shows also how a local material has been used to create an endogenous architecture. • The development of earth architecture in Auroville attempts to link the ancestral tradition of raw earth buildings and the modern technology of stabilised earth. many are the examples of earth as a building material. to the Nile’s shore in Egypt or the fertile valleys of China. • The solution of every problem is contained within itself. like Sydney Opera House. form and character are determined by the nature of the site. From the roof of the world in Tibet. • We propose that all architecture should be organic. the nature of the materials used. technical.built with adobe blocks in 996 AD and which has withstood 1010 Himalayan winters. etc. fly ash blocks. Tradition has accumulated over the ages wisdom and knowledge and it is our duty to distillate the essence of this genius and use it for today’s development. climatic. • Fariborz Sahba designed the Bahai temple in Delhi. and ecological. • Earth architecture and the skill of earth builders disappeared since a century: from the end of the 19th century till the latter half of the 20th century. which is again the modernist approach of organic architecture. the nature of the system using them. in the “rest” of Thebes. the nature of the life concerned and the purpose of the building itself. or the Andes Mountains in Peru. • TZED homes in Bangalore by BCIL are a residential project consisting of environmentally sustainable and aesthetically sound homes for ninety-five families.The oldest one can be seen in Egypt. • The roof of the east face is pressed down to redirect the airflow of the prevailing southwest winds. TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE: A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION • • Since ages raw earth has been used all over the world as a building material to achieve amazingly long lasting buildings. • These “world heritage sites” show how earthen architecture has been use for achieving great and long lasting monuments. built in the 17th century and Tabo monastery in Spiti Valley – Himachal Pradesh. India also shows very old earthen buildings: Shey palace in Ladakh. individual. laterite blocks are used. in the natural form of lotus. built around 1300 BC: the vaults of the Ramasseum. There is hardly any continent or country which does not have numerous examples of earth construction.Nari Gandhi. totally adapted to the local context – social. The R&D conducted by the Auroville Earth Institute finds its source of inspiration in the traditional earthen architecture which is found worldwide.EARTHEN ARCHITECTURE IN AUROVILLE LINKING A WORLD TRADITION WITH MODERNITY • • Gobhai mountain lodge. near Luxor. like stone and mud. Natural building materials. • It is an integrated approach with several innovative systems to minimize environmental impact. 17 .
and the construction of the Visitors’ Centre. started a new era in earthen architecture. schools. .treatment BUILDING WITH EARTH IN AUROVILLE • The creation of the Auroville Earth Institute in 1989. the value of earth as a building material has been acknowledged for its economic advantage. People were sensitive to Nature and respected it. mismanagement of resources can lead to the degradation of the environment. Since then. • Stabilised rammed earth is slowly getting known and a few projects already implemented this technique. Auroville shows quite a few examples of integrated management of soil resources: . work or play areas. gardens. wastewater treatment. • If well managed. apartments and individual houses.• The Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy was the precursor for the renaissance of earthen architecture in the middle of the 20th century. MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES • People in so many different cultures worldwide have used earth to build their habitat and they managed the resources in such a way that buildings were totally integrated in nature and they did not degrade the environment. basement floors. as well as its comfort and quality. as this technology benefits of half a century of research and development worldwide. But on the opposite side. etc.Most of the projects are built with compressed stabilised earth blocks (CSEB).Shallow ones for landscape design.Deep ones for rainwater harvesting. • Today. pools 18 . earthen buildings can be totally integrated in the natural environment. which promotes indigenous and sustainable development. • The“modern world” does not have such sensitivity… The Auroville Earth Institute (AVEI) lays a lot of emphasis on the management of resources. Auroville can show a wide variety of projects: public buildings. as showed in the tradition.
The Auroville Earth Institute is today the South Asian representative and Resource Centre for the UNESCO Chair "Earthen Architecture – Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development". workshops. 19 . Since then architects are designing houses and often people participate. Over the past decade. developing. the endeavour to promote and disseminate raw earth as a building material for sustainable and cost-effective development has brought a series of 12 awards: eleven national awards and one international award. promoting and teaching earth-based technologies that are cost and energy effective. • These technologies are disseminated through training courses. publications and consultancy within and outside India. seminars. which had been founded by HUDCO in 1989. • • • One of the aims of the Auroville Earth Institute is to give people the possibility to create and build their habitat themselves. using earth techniques.HOUSES Up to ~ 1990 they were not so many architects and most of the time houses were built by people themselves. in a way or another to the building process. THE AUROVILLE EARTH INSTITUTE • The Auroville Earth Institute was previously named the Auroville Building Centre/Earth Unit. • The Auroville Earth Institute is researching.
ARCHITECTS IN VERNACULAR # Hassan Fathy Hassan Fathy is one of the few names of 20th century architects in the Middle East that is also known in the West. as is shown here after. It has been used since ages. The binder. has been researched and developed from the very onset by the Auroville Earth Institute. and the Auroville Earth Institute inherited his spirit and commitment towards the earth as a building material and what the latter can do for people. with various shapes and thicknesses. of earthen architecture and construction with arches. • The Auram press 3000 is a multi mould manual press which can fit 16 moulds on it. • CSEB made in Auroville with 5% cement. vaults and domes. USA. hence the name Nubian. comfortable. Egypt. using a compass. was the silty-clayey soil from the Nile and the blocks used were adobes. from Southern Egypt. # NUBIAN TECHNIQUE This technique came from Nubia. • It ranges from a press for compressed stabilised earth blocks. • The press 3000 is today being sold worldwide – mostly in South Asia and in Africa. about 1-1. so as to increase the adhesion by force of gravity. scaffolding. for producing about 70 different types of blocks. there by using a local resource to help develop technologies that are energy saving. The Nubian technique was also used for building circular domes.His life-long career has been mainly devoted to an architecture that serves a greater good. The Nubian technique traditionally needs a back wall to stick the blocks onto. the sun dried bricks. Craterre . for the rehabilitation of the zones affected by the severe earthquake of January 2001.Ramses II around 1300 BC. We owe him thanks for the worldwide renaissance. The water absorption is around 10%. Country fired bricks have around 35 kg/cm² for the dry compressive strength and 12% water absorption COMPRESSED STABILISED EARTH BLOCK (CSEB) • A wide range of equipment for building with earth. the Auram equipment. Note that these technologies are seen only as tools for creating a safe. to rammed earth equipment. cement and reinforced cement concrete. as it is testified by the vaults of the granaries of the Ramasseum.handling equipment.eco-friendly and sustainable. A few machines have also been sold in Europe.APPROPRIATE BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES BASED ON EARTH • This research aims at making extensive use of • stabilised raw earth as the main building material.5 cm thick.the International Centre for Earth Construction. have an average dry compressive crushing strength of 50 kg/cm2 (5 Mpa) and a wet compressive crushing strength of 25 kg/cm2. • The press 3000 with hollow interlocking moulds was sold in large quantities to Gujarat-India. This technique has the advantage of 20 . The unevenness of the adobes made it necessary to slightly incline the courses. The main research and development is focussed on minimizing the use of steel. in the 20th century. The Nubian technique was revived and disseminated by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. Not only has his interest been in providing affordable housing for the poor but also in reinstalling pride in the vernacular andtraditional architecture of the Arab world and mainly his home country of Egypt. The vault was built arch after arch and therefore the courses were laid almost vertically. Arabic peninsula and China. quality control devices for block making. hand tools. which was built by. progressive and aesthetic architecture.
as the load transfer passes into the half dome which is at the end. courses of the 3. meaning that the soil is too sandy. groined domes) cannot be built with horizontal courses. # FREE SPANNING TECHNIQUE The free spanning technique is an on going development of the Nubian technique that the Auroville earth Institute is working on since a few years. which is that the earth glue is very liquid and the blocks are very thin. this glue should not be too clayey.60 m span equilateral vault have reached their maximum height. being built with horizontal courses. • If the mortar for walls (1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand) gives satisfactory results.e. Note that soil and sand should be sieved with 1 mm mesh. The vault rises with horizontal courses building a semicircular vault of 6m span It is essential to study the location of the centres of gravity so that the weight of the masonry never goes beyond the springers. and assumes the most direct way. structures are built either with horizontal courses. The 6m span semicircular vault cannot be built horizontally anymore. This technique combines also the use of vertical courses. if needed. more soil and less sand. vertical ones or a combination of both.The horizontal 21 # Vaults and domes built with the Nubian technique The binder for vaults and domes is like glue and should be more clayey than the one for walls in order to stick the blocks properly against each other. if needed. the vault tends to crack less because there is less shrinkage due to the glue. The construction has to go on with vertical courses. Very flat segmental vaults and certains shapes of vaulted structures (i. as no force can balance the gravity forces. This technique with vertical courses has a major disadvantage. the following mix can successfully be used for vaults and domes: 1 cement: 6 soil: 3 sand. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 7 soil: 5 sand. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 3 soil: 9 sand. Depending on the shape of vaults. . Forces through the keystone The forces pass through the keystone of the equilateral vault. like in the Nubian technique. It is needed also to develop a certain sense of how the forces behave in the masonry. meaning that the soil is too clayey. The basis of the technique with horizontal courses is not anymore the adhesion of the blocks by the earth glue. Courses should now be laid by steps The masonry goes on with horizontal steps. Therefore. The Free Spanning technique with horizontal courses presents an advantage compared to the Nubian technique: the glue is sandier and the quantity of glue is proportionally less. Nevertheless. and their transfer onto the next courses and the masonry in general. the specification for vaults and domes could be 1 cement: 5 soil: 4 sand or. Equilateral vault with horizontal courses. It allows courses to be laid horizontally. rises like a corbel which is curved and has courses inclined at the same angle as the radius of the curve. as the blocks are bigger.allowing one to build vaults and domes without centering. no sand should be added and the mix could be 1 cement: 9 soil. but the equilibrium of gravity forces of the various courses. which will induce a lot of cracks in the structure later on. the specification for vaults and domes could be 1 cement: 7 soil: 2 sand or. The transfer of loads always takes the shape of catenary curves. • If the soil is too sandy. as it should not have an excessive shrinkage. less soil and more sand. Limit of stability of the horizontal courses Load transfer in the shape of a catenary in an equilateral vault with a half dome Force as a rampant arch Equilibrium of forces Force as a rampant arch Limit of stability of the curved corbel The vault.
need a glue sandier than the one for walls. The mortar specifications vary as the vault rises: • The first courses.Thickness: The vertical joint. • When the courses rise. if needed. or more soil and less sand if needed. which is built with horizontal courses. meaning that the soil is too clayey. Therefore. the first courses of the vaults. The extrados of an optimized vault. The glue will have at the end the same specification as the one for vaults with the Nubian technique: 1 cement: 6 soil: 3 sand or more soil and less sand. As the courses are circular. First courses of the vault #BUILDING ARCHES 22 . has steps which should be filled with an earth concrete. the side of the joint facing the intrados has a triangular shape. which are quite flat. • If the first courses uses a mix of 1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand. the glue can be modified as such: 1 cement: 5 soil: 7 sand. Therefore. the various mixes which have been specified here are merely indicative and need to be adapted to suit each individual soil. is specially developed for building vaults without support. can use this glue: 1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand. The fluidity and thickness of the glue varies according to the work: #Vaults. their angle becomes steeper from the horizontal. the soil/sand ratio should be increased progressively. • When the courses rise further and have a steeper angle. which is built with horizontal. in order to increase the ratio soil/sand. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 5 soil: 7 sand. the blocks tend to slip down and fall. can use this glue: 1 cement: 9 soil: 3 sand or more soil and less sand. Filling steps between courses. if needed. built with horizontal courses. It is crucial that the intrados corners of the block touch each other. A sample of the glue taken with the trowel should leave a film of 7-8 mm thick on a trowel placed vertically. . 7-8 mm left on the trowel • If the mortar for walls (1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand) gives satisfactory results.3-4 mm left on the trowel #Circular domes (Hemispherical. if needed.Fluidity: The glue needs to be very liquid. Add progressively some soil to the glue and reduce of the same proportion the sand content. cloister and groined domes .Fluidity: The glue needs semi liquid like paste. Note that soil and sand should be sieved with a 1 mm mesh. can use this glue: 1 cement: 3 soil: 9 sand or less soil and more sand. • If the mortar for walls (1 cement: 4 soil: 8 sand) gives satisfactory results. the mix for the earth concrete can successfully be 1 cement: 2 soil: 3 sand: 4 gravel (1/2” size) Note for all specifications concerning binders: Types of soil are as different as human beings. The glue should have more soil. the cement/soil ratio could be increased to 1cement: 8 soil or 1cement: 7 soil. the first courses of the vaults. It should have the same fluidity as for the vaults built with the Nubian Technique. should be the minimum thickness. The binder is like glue.The best would be 1 mm thick and the maximum should be 2 mm thick. • If the mortar for walls is 1 cement: 7 soil: 5 sand. which is built with horizontal courses. The fluidity of the glue is essential for the adhesion. #Vaults built with the free spanning technique The Free Spanning technique. A sample of the glue taken with the trowel should leave a film of 3-4 mm thick on a trowel placed vertically . Higher courses of the vault The fluidity of the glue is essential when laying the blocks. pointed and segmental) . the first courses of the vaults. which has changing proportions when the dome rises. meaning that the soil is too sandy. • When the courses get steeper and that the blocks start to slip down. which is binding the various courses of the vault. or even more.Thickness: The corners of the blocks are touching each other at the intrados edge. in order to reduce the shrinkage when drying. which uses horizontal courses.• If the soil is really too sandy and the mix 1 cement: 9 soil does not give good results. the glue should become more clayey.
No mortar is in between the blocks inside.Arches usually need a centring to be built. which is the inner side of the pier. Pour water on the keystone 10. before the masonry starts to tilt. Pressing the mortar joint 6. as more masons can work on the same structure. Check the linearity of the last course 3. so as to get the last blocks parallel near the apex. 1. For arches which are not too flat.Centre of gravity of a corbelled arch Arches built with the free spanning technique A “curved arch” is normally never built free spanning. At the other end it is nearly impossible to lay the last course between the vault and the opposite wall. Wedge the keystone with stone chips 23 . Roundness of segmental arches 2)Corbelled arches built without centring Corbelled arches were developed because they can be built without support. Grind a block to adjust its length 4. Wooden and steel centrings can have supports made of wood poles or steel pipes only if the arch has to be built many times. Hit gently to get the keystone to wedge it 12. ~ 80 cm span -Common procedure for all arches It is essential that the blocks touch each other at the intrados. Masonry centrings are often used to save the cost of a prefabricated centring. there will finally be a gap between both. Start the vault on both sides 2. where the centre of gravity is of the arch being built. As both halves of the vault get closer to each other. by corbelling regularly the horizontal courses of the wall masonry. The Nubian technique needs a back wall to start sticking the vertical courses onto and the vault is built arch after arch. It is essential that the arch rises with the blocks perpendicular to the centring. the blocks are laid on the side of the centring in a similar way to thatdescribed above. as their cost is mostly the labour which made it. The main exception is corbelled arches. This technique was developed to start building the vault on both opposite walls at the same time.The last blocks laid on top of the centring are laid according to the details mentioned hereafter for veryflat segmental arches. 90 cm span Masonry centring. -Types of centrings Wooden centring. it is essential to pay attention to the balance of the masonry when courses rise. Extreme care must be taken over the decentring. For building such an arch. Wood and steel centrings are useful when the same arch has to be built several times. Removing wedges and decentring 1)Segmental arches Depending on the flatness of the arch the procedure will be different. ~ 5 m span Steel centring. Slide the block laterally 2. The following method was developed to build an arch without centring. Adjust the block by sliding it vertically 7. Apply 2-3 mm of glue on the block 5. Wedge the block with stone chips 8. The centring should go down slowly and vertically. which has to be closed. Insert the keystone after applying glue 11. so as to close a vault which was built with the Nubian technique and started at both ends of a room. and outside the joint thickness will depend on the curvature of the arch. Most of the time. steel or masonry.It should not go beyond the limit of stability. One should evaluate. Triangular joint of the mortar 5. It presents the advantage of going faster. 1. They may have any shape and span. as it needs a support for the voussoirs. Insert the block. Centrings can be made of wood. Build the arch symmetrically 4. Check the right angle 3. The method presented hereafter allows bridging without support for this gap between both halves of the vault. Note the mortar on the sides 6. The bond pattern is essential and the blocks should cantilever preferably by 1/4 of the block module with the maximum projection 1/3. Grind the keystone to adjust its thickness 9. the supports are made with brickwork which is laid with a mortar made of earth and sand. but the blocks need a support for being laid.
Back wall Window frame as a template 2)Building a vault with the free spanning technique Vertical ones. The template can also be made of welded Tor steel. which can be re-used afterwards for reinforced cement concrete.BUILDING VAULTS 1)Building a vault with the Nubian technique The back wall should be built first. What is presented here is only the particular details for laying the courses horizontally.The binder varies when the vault rises. The control of the shape is ensured from the inner diameter and thus a cursor or any kind of mark made on the compass is needed. It is necessary to create a net of string lines between the back wall and the template. In certain cases. so as to reduce the shrinkage of the glue and cracks in the vault later on. The reason is that any mistake in accuracy. like in the Nubian technique. It is essential to check the balance of the portion of the vault which progressively corbels. It can advantageously be the future window frame on which are temporarily fixed some spacers to get the extrados shape of the vault. Note that it is better to lay the net of string lines outside in the masonry. it is sometimes necessary to lay the string lines below the masonry. Therefore. It is then indispensable to work with a very high accuracy and to leave always 1 mm gap between the blocks and the string line. will not change the linearity of the string line. A template is needed to ensure the shape of the vault. with a block laid lower or slipping down. Compass Triangular shape of the mortar (section) Triangular shape of the joint (inside) 2)Square domes 24 . It is essential to compress the vertical joint very well and to keep it to the minimum. to ensure the height of the various courses their cord and span must be checked. The lengthof the compass is taken at the outer diameter of the dome.Compress the joint BUILDING DOMES 1)Circular domes Circular domes are defined by the rotation of a compass. It can have exactly the shape of the extrados of the vault or it can be quadrangular and the extrados of the vault will be drawn onto it. It starts with the same specification as for arches and progressively become more clayey. so that the direction of the block can be adjusted by the angle of the compass. to see if they are according to the calculations.
from diagonal to diagonal of the template. instead of using steel and cement. These. He understood that these methods were the cheapest and the most simple. he came to understand the real relation between materials and the beings. Skylight 2. Baker. Pipe template and string lines Hearing bones of the joints. String lines are pulled at regular intervals. brick. stone. Jalies 3. BAKER’S CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES LAURIE BAKER (1914 to 2007) Laurie Baker is truly the Hassan Fathy of India people say that Baker has developed his architecture based on Vernacular architecture of Kerela. A jali openings encourages air flow. Mud is gathered either at the construction site or rom nearby areas. Traditional roofs 4. by which bricks are made. It catches light & air and diffuses glare while allowing privacy & security combining the function of a window & a ventilator. when the squinches meet at the centre Cross alternately the blocks for the keystones Right side cover Cross alternately the blocks for the keystones left side cover Baker learnt the actual way of practicing architecture by observing how the rural people were building their houses. A Charateristic feature of Baker’s work is the jali. The procedure described as follows is for cloister domes which are built with squinches. BAKER’S STYLE 1.He began to build houses by making use of whatever was available in nature. producing intricate patterns of light and shadow. Baker was aware of mud’s total recycle-ability. He also observed that these people did not even employ expert workers. but built them on their own. Consequently. terracotta tile & coconut. Traditional structure 25 LAURIE BAKER IN VERNACULAR .a perforted screen made of Bricks with a surface of tiny regular opening in the wall. which create the groined or cloister domes. the most sustainable and renewable resource. used locally available building materials like mud.Square domes are generated by the intersection of two vaults. Baker became the champion of Using mud.yet the construction of this form of cross-Ventilation requires. Baker was aware of those using concrete. primarily mud eventually. A template is required and it is generally made of a pipe which is bent according to the need. he began to feel that his education and the skills acquired.
The second method has developed from the cob wall so as to standar dise or regularise the thickness of the wall. It is also an attempt to increase the strength of the wall by ramming it. When one section is completed and hard. Otherwise. or even construct it from a material like Burnt Brick. and windows are a problem.All forms of mud work are less prone to cracking if dried slowly. For example. or by small cross pieces of wood. this cob method is a very simpler straight forwards uncomplicated. these vertical joints can later turn into a large vertical crack! However. or Laterite.There are other local systems where some mud is used in one way or another to assist other materials to stick together.In many hill and mountain areas the stone is deliberately and carefully added at the external base of the wall and this deal with the splashing of rainwater quite effectively. Rammed earth or adobe walls. So the stones are often used as fillers to either Cob. the sides are smoothe over so that the holes and cracks disappear. Once you have obtained the feel of the right consistency of mud. For example. the two boards are moved along and the process is repeated until the whole plan is completed. which can be solved by using temporary vertical planks or shuttering. of rammed earth walls is usually very long and they can carry heavy floors and roofs and be used for two and even three storey buildings. A row of these cobs of mud are laid neatly side-by-side preferably somewhat pressed together when three or four courses have been laid. Stteped arches 6. The vertical joints between one rammed section and next are not vertically one above the other. Stiff mud is thrown in between these two planks and rammed down with either a wooden or metal ramrod. one above the other. Overhanging CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUIES The first simplest and certainly the oldest system is called “COB” With only a little water to form a very stiff mud. in many parts of the country small roughstones are found but it is quite difficult to build a wall of any size or height with suchpieces. Basically. So the stones are often used as fillers to either Cob. there is no doubt at all that the life of rammed earth walls is usually very long and they can carry heavy floors and roofs and be used for two and even three storey buildings. Openings for doors. or with a veranda. As we have already pointed out there is no virtue in being fanatical about mud and trying to do every single item with mud. in the shade and not in 26 The vertical joints between one rammed section and next are not vertically one above the other. Rammed earth or adobe walls. these vertical joints can later turn into a large vertical crack! However. there is no doubt at all that the life . Stone. It is known as the Rammed Earth.In many hill and mountain areas the stone is deliberately and carefully added at the external base of the wall and this deal with the splashing of rainwater quite effectively. Otherwise. SITTING A MUD HOUSE CURING MUD BLOCKS It can also be said here that for many single and double storey buildings mud can be used as a mortar for ordinary burnt brick walls and for stone random rubble walls If your site is a very exposed one with a frequent strong driving rain then of course it is better to protect that side of your building with plaster.5. in many parts of the country small roughstones are found but it is quite difficult to build a wall of any size or height with suchpieces. two parallel planks are held firmly apart by metal rods and clips or bolts. There are other local systems where some mud is used in one way or another to assist other materials to stick together.
a mirror in which ordinary people can obtain a clearer image of their own evolving culture. Sri Lanka has been subjected to strong outside influences from its Indian neighbours. he has broken down the artificial segregation of inside and outside. Geoffrey Bawa (1919–2003) Geoffrey Bawa was Sri Lanka’s most prolific and influential architect. Since Bawa started out on his career. and it has always succeeded in translating these elements into something new but intrinsically Sri Lankan. His architecture is a subtle blend of modernity and tradition. he has drawn on tradition to create an architecture that is fitting to its place. Geoffrey Bawa recieved the prestigious Chairmans Award from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for his lifetime achievement. His ideas have spread across the island. After mud blocks are made they should be stacked so that air circulates around the blocksand so that they will not be disturbed or damaged preferably close to where the building will be constructed. Geoffery Bawa in Architecture Throughout its long and colourful history. Bawa has exerted a defining influence on the emerging architecture of independent Sri Lanka and successive generations of younger architects.strong sun. His ideas have spread across the island. formal and picturesque. Bawa has continued this tradition. from Arab traders and from European colonists. Although it might be thought that his buildings have had no direct impact on the lives of ordinary people. building and landscape. 27 . providing a bridge between the past and future. a mirror in which ordinary people can obtain a clearer image of their own evolving culture. while its communities have been fractured by bitter political and ethnic disputes. East and West. and he has also used his vast knowledge of the modern world to create an architecture that is of its time. Sri Lanka’s population has almost tripled. providing a bridge between the past and the future.
Bawa’s attitude to life imbued his work with a sybaritic ethos. preferring it to be experienced instead. Fundamental to his approach was an empathy for place and a direct interaction on site. The existing potential of the natural landscape was always accommodated within and around Bawa’s spaces. to be enjoyed. Quintessentially. 28 . A love of natural form. Sindhudurg (Dist).Geoffrey Bawa shied from discussing his work. which is ubiquitous in his designs. Nadhawade. Maharashtra. He blended them so beautifully that ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ became a continuum. his cosmopolitanism and a sense of culture and the past were essential components. Both life and training shaped his ideas. enhance and celebrate the environment’ and are above all. PROJECTS IN VERNACULAR 1) Farm house. the discipline he learnt in England tempered by conviviality in elegant surroundings. Geoffrey Bawa’s architecture produced canvasses for the art of living so unobtrusive that his forms became props which ‘respect. India Shirish Beri & Associates on Farm house at Nadhawade said “The farm was bought with the idea of creating an ecologically balanced environment with maximum use and recycling of local materials.
Kamil was no doubt. The use of locally available laterite stones wood. which are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The sand was gathered from the streambed. While studying at Architectural Association in London in early 60s. shade and beauty.) This material can be dressed to any size and shape. when the pool is dry. or the house extends out in low-built forms. isolated rooms. who has been working in Lahore. Our attitudes towards life as a whole are mainly responsible for the shaping of this symbiotic living experience at Nadhawade. The swimming pool is constructed with minimum construction and costed only Rs. lend an unusual warmth and earthiness to the spaces. 40 / – per sq. which is more economical and indigenous. The wind on the farm was not enough for the exploitation. thus no water is wasted. He has made tremendous contributions to architectural education in Pakistan in his own modest manner. The house was constructed in laterite stone masonry (a locally available porous stone of 26cm X 40cm X 16cm ht.The house has an organic quality with a unified interior space instead of segregated. which comes Rs.The gas plants design was based on a Chinese’s model. In tropical department at AA. and brings about a great saving in cement The foundation is in Deccan trap stone obtained while digging the swimming pool. The flooring is cow dung and mud on ground floor (except toilets and wet areas) and timber on mezzanine. He has been involved with Aga Khan Award of Architecture. The farm aid quarters and stores were constructed in he vernacular manner with laterite pillars in the cement mortar and in situ mud partition walls. Pakistan since late 60s. forms and culture on architects. mud and cow dung besides bringing about economy. well. farm aid’s quarters. It acts as a play arena. has also led several architectural juries. The use of the solar cooker. and integrate them in the built environment. which runs along the property. and the pump shed is camouflaged by a rockery. These were abandoned by local temple in the process of the renovation when plastered stone pillars were 29 Kamil Khan Mumtaz a Pakistani.The old existing temples with their Deepmalas have been retained with improved arrival spaces in front. British trained architect. The bedroom sit out recognizes the natural irrigation canal. 2500/-. pool and services structure have been located centrally to facilitate better supervision. This building cost worked out 1/5th of the general prevailing building costs then. which flows through the site from January to May. The wash out of the pipe is connected to the irrigation system of the coconuts and areca nut gardens at the lower level. These materials are natural materials.The wood used for the structural work is all locally available jungle wood. fully exposed to the modernist thinking of that era. The main Osri or portico pillars are beautifully carved old wooden pillars of 55cm diameter.The built environment has a lot of interrelationship with the natural organic environment also.”Every requirement was worked out as activities and not as rooms. garden. Konigsburger and Rory Fonseca were there to impart the best knowledge . has good insulationvalue constructed. Some times the garden comes inside. 2)Influence of indigenous structures. better insulation.m only. The house was designed to grow around the trees. a cascade and a lily pool. The well compacted cow dung plastered mud floor has good impact strength. Dr. The well has been designed as a landscape element with stepped gardens. Our own house. methane gas and wood from the energy plantations reduce the dependence of external energy resources. The inside and outside spaces mingle with each other.
tolerant and almost secular approach despised by the hardcore intolerant Islamic wing causing the current disquiet throughout the world. culture and building forms and techniques were in harmony. His professional training abroad. Like Laurie Baker. This is not an easy balance to strike if your clients have differing 30 . I have been aware of his high standards of architectural output for a while. vernacular and civic architecture from pre-Mogul to British era. a much gentler. He is striving hard to regain the understanding of the past where religion. Kamil also worked with Keith Critchlow and Buckminister Fuller in Ghana for a while. he was fully conversant with the sustainable approach to built forms rooted in local traditions. trying to keep alive or revive the building traditions that continue to suffer and deteriorate in Pakistan. Kamil’s faith in Islam is influenced by Sufism. surrounded by some of the best examples of traditional craftsmanship. Laurie Baker’s professional work adhered to his own brand of Quaker humanism. Islam and its rich heritage offers him a framework to bridge the gap between alien western culture on one side and prevailing lack of continuity and cultural relevance in local architectural world on the other. On his return to Pakistan he started his practice with all the current design influences and produced some work using modern 20th century influences. It soon became apparent to him that that all his western training and appreciation of modernist principals were at odds with the local building and cultural traditions and to make meaningful architectural progress in these environments required a reappraisal of all he has learned.about designing for comfort in tropical climates. in his view. Kamil Khan Mumtaz was born and grew up on the sub-continent. almost put him off course and he was forced to make some ‘mid-way corrections’ to his professional progress to return to a point where his work was ’seamlessly’ connected to the centuries of traditions. particularly his interest in indigenous approach.
high rates of urbanisation.expectations and ambitions. but not to that of religion as a factor in the design process. and rhythms which reflect the cosmic order and perfect balance underlying the apparent chaos of the universe An architecture based on appropriate technology will fail to convey its message unless it also employs a language that is appropriate and meaningful in the context of a specific culture The sensibilities of the architect are moulded by his academic training. when he very kindly accompanied me to show some of his building projects currently under construction. proportions. that the average architect may be persuaded to incorporate some token reference to traditional forms into his otherwise “modern” designs. by exploring the validity of urban forms and morphologies which have evolved over the millennia in this particular geographic context. I have been able to evoke the delights of discovering the hidden paradise with internal patios and fountains I have learned to work within the framework of a new discipline of symmetries. by imaginatively exploiting available material resources and skills and developing appropriate technologies. by designing buildings which are responsive to the climate of their region. which are sufficient reasons for Kamil to politely decline such projects. Thus it is only in deference to a valued client’s sensibilities. or as a cultural metaphor rather than as religious symbol. He is sensitised to the role of “function” and of “pure aesthetics” of sensible form. by creating relationships of spaces and buildings which are sensitive to prevailing . 31 …within these same environments the opportunities have also existed for architecture to act as a catalyst in promoting a meaningful debate which addresses issues which should be central to the discourse of architecture in these environments: Architecture can play this role by positing strategies for urban development in the context of high rates of population growth. I had the pleasure of meeting Kamil in Lahore a few months ago. and persistent poverty. by developing an architectural vocabulary which is meaningful to the people and relevant to their culture and history.
Taking this into account the neo-urbanism model of using streets and semi private green spaces was adapted into the site plan.We needed to explore a more site specific and climatically suitable principle of housing As this was then the unifying element in the housing.social values and norms. Auroville Building Centre the guiding principles are • • • • • • Solar passive design Participatory design process with the end user Flexibility of functions within spaces Low input construction techniques and materials Recycling of waste water Minimalism of built form 32 . and by clarifying the issues in the current debate on modernity and tradition in these societies. Auroville is a society of extreme cultural. Like most of the projects done by the Architecture Dept. 3) PRARTHNA Architect: Suhasini Ayer The housing of Prarthna started as a conventional housing development with an array of Apartment blocks comprising of different types of Housing units. The concept of using transition spaces that are verandahs. one could then freely explore the internal layout of the houses to the needs and lifestyle of the occupant. social and economic diversity and often the lifestyle of the people are very different to be accommodated within the narrow range of different housing types of 2 bed/bath or 3 bed/2 bath…………. But after the first 2 blocks it became clear that a mixed land use of row houses and apartments would be more appropriate for the needs of Auroville. sit outs and terraces as the living spaces with a cascade of shading roofs in terracotta tiles as the skyline. This was enhanced by evolving a building language that was inspired from the vernacular forms of costal Tamil Nadu.
The balconies of the houses were also different. The unity of construction and landscape were lost. houses mirror the needs.necessarily derive from the past.Also lacking is a feeling for harmony and proportion But now as “the Earth Institute of Auroville” change the techniques in vernacular architecture. used materials that were less disturbed our ecological balance.some two and some none.In the end. which were developed over many years and responded to the climate. mosques.It asks question about why vernacular houses in the city are being replaced with modern concrete constructions. .the construction techniques and materials also varied subtly.It then looks at the new residential areas where the vernacular vocabulary is emerging in a fragmented way to make a ‘Style’.to share our knowledge of the building materials and their advantages. tombs and from the present development-modern shopping complexes.the land can become useable again for constructing a multi-storeyed residential buildings. Each house was from a different locality with varied surroundings. What does it mean to share one’s concern? It is to share. Some had one courtyard. monuments. that new ways of building must 33 CONSULION The vernacular dwelling is the unconscious expression of a people’s cultue. Perhaps one day we will learn to maintain our commercial viability but at the same time respect the spirit and the qualities of traditional design. kotlas.residential buildings activities do not repect the architecture values or practices of the past . commercial buildings. The vernacular house is a small part-palaces. who are concerned enough to conserve some of the past and to plan the future with a greater awarenass. It will need many groups of people in many towns and cities..it looks at one of the many houses from the past that are being sold to ‘dismantling contractors’ so that . administrative buildings and large institutional buildings. desires. VANISHING VERNACULAR VOCABULARY The changing face of the domestic architecture of India. about how new architecture can evolve from this. deorhis. Mostly today’s urban. what we know about the richness of this architecture with the others. and living habits of a time because they are the direct result of the interaction between people and their environment. More than the architecture of secular or religious institutions.Each house had differences in the elements of the house.