By Anuradha K R
Photography: Courtesy PYHT
An agro-tourism centre in Neral, Maharashtra, promises a bona fide experience of traditional, rural house brimming with feel-good eco-factors. The project serves to raise awareness, interest and expertise levels in traditional architecture…
A labour of love of bio-architects ‘PutYourHandsTogether’ (PYHT), Adobe Cottage in Saguna Baug, is an initiative to add more eco-friendly cottages to their kitty. PYHT is an organization, co-founded by a group of friends with a common passion to pursue architecture with naturally and locally available materials. Studying the architectural fabric of nearby villages, PYHT came up with a design that finds resonance with the climate, context and people.
The name spills the beans and Adobe Cottage has unburnt bricks/sun-dried adobes as its building blocks. The most impressive fact about them is that these high-strength bricks are made without the expense of any fuel. In line with their architectural philosophy, the ‘bio-architects’ have sourced most of the building materials from within a radius of 5-7 kms of the site.
A 850 sqft house built on basalt and cement mortar foundation with three bays – living area, wet area and bed room – Adobe Cottage stands overlooking a pond. Inspired by local design preferences, the cottage also houses a wooden mezzanine. Used as a storage space in traditional households, mezzanine serves to shield the occupants from excessive heat.
Imbuing the design with climate-sensitivity, stone wall has been preferred over mud wall on the western side, which receives maximum rains during monsoons; and it isn’t coincidental that the wet area of the house is placed there. While all walls of the house are 14” thick, the eastern wall stands 4” thicker than the rest. Its ‘breathing’ walls are mud plastered with coatings of jaggery and linseed oil to keep termites at bay and to enhance waterproofing.
Minimal use of industrial raw materials, wooden roof under-structure, perforated brickwork in pockets, reused Mangalore tiles and reused timber for doors and windows stand testimony to the designers’ commitment to ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ mantra.
A cottage, firmly rooted in simplicity and sustainability makes one appreciate the green ways of life, fondly fostered by masses not so long ago.