How sensible and sensitive can a building plan be, how local can one get with materials? Some tips from experts who addressed the issues recently. A report byRANJANI GOVIND
Isn't architecture something that links spaces? And through spaces, people, queried Australian builder Tom Haynes, who had visited the city sometime ago to address people on eco-friendly architecture.
“How does one explain the science of building? Should architecture and building material choices convey a culture and heritage of the place or reflect the lifestyle of the user? Although it is an expression of several factors in varied degrees, true architecture is about understanding people and the moorings of the place with specific contribution to green living,” he said. “Relevant architecture is all about using ideas, design and material that are local and climate specific.”
Living amidst brick-and-mortar expressions that scream of a daunting development boom, it is time for city dwellers to sit up and take notice of Haynes' warning of the World Health Organisation projections that highlight death due to negligence of environmental factors in building dynamics.
Haynes exposed the WHO forecast of chronic illnesses that would double by 2030. The seriousness of the issue underlines man's interference with nature and de-focussed methodologies that spurn green lifestyles.
Reading out from media reports of mushrooming unplanned structures with materials that are more or less perilous to the environment, Haynes highlighted the fact that construction materials need to be health- and climate-friendly, as they would minimise global warming.
Green sense for students
Recently well-known architects of the city congregated at a college seminar where ‘green building methods' where put forth to students who were going to be future professionals.
“Regional architecture has not only lost its identity and importance, but is also not considered when working out solutions. The confusion starts when hybrid solutions are produced under the pretext of creativity,” commented green architect K. Jaisim.
Village homes predominantly used mud. Do up a house with mud, it is termed ‘ethnic,' ‘earthy' and ‘traditional' now.
Mud houses that have come up recently defy such anachronism and sit pretty in design and respect towards environmental needs.
To start with
Getting eco-conscious is an underlining factor in building science for architects, said architect Nita Hari and advised students to think and feel aspects of green such as getting the wonderful climate indoors.
“Blocks, tiles and jaalis in mud or terracotta is what one could start with. Non-cement-based mud plaster on walls can keep the mosquitoes away. More local materials, skylights and rainwater harvesting is what even architecture study syllabus should include.”
* Practise RWH to the maximum extent.
* Use mud blocks, they are natural and cost-effective.
* Use plant-based wall finishes, rather than chemical additives.
* Lime-washed walls are better than lead-based hues.
* Avoid vitrified tiles and bring in natural stones, terracotta or ceramic alternatives.
* Bring in skylights for natural ventilation.
* Solar heating encourages energy production.
* Segregate garbage and compost biodegradable matter.
* Use locally available material that needs minimum energy for production.
* Use non-cement-based plasters.
* Silver oak trees and small water bodies in your residence will ensure the arrival of birds.