Jaipur’s Building Technology Park showcases house designs that suit every taste and pocket

A unique Building Technology Park at Mansarovar in Jaipur is providing an answer to the dilemma of common people about the selection of technology and construction practices to be adopted for their houses. The park is a one-stop destination for those who are generally ignorant of intricacies of building construction and want to educate themselves before taking up their own construction projects.

Spread over 2.47 hectare area, the technology park project is funded by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), which provided Rs. 54.64 lakh to the Rajasthan Housing Board to develop the park. Here, all possible cost-effective technologies and construction practices are displayed for the benefit of common man.

Divided into rural and urban sections, the exhibits showcase traditional building techniques. The rural section sports novel methods in construction and depicts water repellent and fire resistant thatched roof structures, low-cost sanitation systems and construction using stabilised mud blocks and fly-ash blocks.

According to HUDCO chairman and managing director V. P. Baligar, the technologies displayed in both the sections are relevant to the harsh climatic conditions of Rajasthan. Prefabricated houses using ferro-cement walling panels and innovative materials like ferro-cement park bench, pillars, pre-cast railings, etc. are also on display.

The urban section exhibits traditional building techniques, namely stone and brick masonry construction, patti roofing and roller-compacted concrete (RCC) and innovative building materials like thin lintels, chhajja, precast roofing elements, etc. Non-conventional roofing elements and masonry construction techniques and flooring have also been shown in actual construction.

Mr. Baligar says that the building techniques displayed at the park use ferro-cement walling panels in which the double walled panel has a cavity in between to counter the thermal insulation problem. Similarly, the display of calcium silicate bricks which are aesthetic and strong in comparison with the burnt clay bricks apprises the visitors of new avenues.

The prototype model of a rural house at the park highlights the impacts of vagaries of nature and vulnerability to fire. At the park, the traditional village house has been improved with the use of stabilised mud blocks for walling and cement micro concrete tiles for roofing. It reduces the cost by 15 to 20 per cent and makes the house strong and fire-resistant.

A village hut developed by the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) — the apex building research body of the country located in Roorkee — comprises one room, kitchen and verandah along with waste water disposal arrangements. Technologies adopted for this house include fire-retardant roof and non-eroding plaster (bitumen, cow dung, etc., in specific proportion). The waste water from the kitchen is treated and used for the kitchen garden.

The cattle-shed with ferro-cement cattle feeders displayed in the rural section is a modified structure that has been raised using stabilised mud blocks for walling and new material for roof as the substitute for traditional material. The barn is of ferro-cement which can be produced locally with semi-skilled labour.

The basic features of traditional village huts in Barmer, Bikaner and Jaisalmer districts have been retained in an innovative model which enhances the structure’s stability with the input of cost-effective technology. It uses stabilised mud blocks, new door and window frames and ferro-cement pre-cast roof. Mud and cow dung plaster with local murals painted on it gives it an ethnic look.

Stone-slabs are abundantly available in Rajasthan and traditionally used for roofing in buildings. A model shows a house totally made of stone-slabs from Karauli district displaying how slabs can be used for wall, floor, roof, partition wall, leaving suitable openings for doors and windows.

A typical house for economically weaker sections comprises walls of 15 cm thick solid concrete blocks. Roofing of pre-cast ferro-cement segmental arch component with haunches is combined with concrete. The foundation is laid in a traditional manner, while the total construction is 25 per cent cheaper than traditional manufacturing.

There is an attractive prototype house completely made of sandstone slabs available in Chittorgarh district.

A complete pre-cast house right from foundation to superstructure and roofing consisting of different components which can be manufactured separately in advance is a special attraction at the technology park. Its erection at the site can be accomplished in a day’s time.

The tunnel shuttering technique displayed at the park highlights the significance of new technology for speedy construction of houses, which would solve the problem of housing shortage in the country.

Finally, the section devoted to traditional architecture of Rajasthan throws light on the distinctive structural planning and designs of the desert State and depicts well-proportioned architectural elements, such as arches, chhatris and jharokhas, intricately carved columns, jalis, brackets and balconies in addition to other architectural works like railings, chhajjas and kangooras.