This Eco-Pleasant Mud Home is an Ode to Tamil Nadu’s Nalukettu Structure

Because the weekend approaches, 4 associates make their approach from Chennai to the coastal village of Kuvathur, 80 km from town. Right here, a farmhouse awaits them and their households. 

The home in query is hidden from the remainder of the world, strategically sandwiched amongst a dense development of bushes. Birdsong and whiffs of the ocean are welcome company, whereas the hustle of town has no place on this a part of city. 

Ask the chums the explanation for this unconventional alternative of a weekend getaway, and so they say they’d decide it any day over a metropolis resort. 

One among them, Shaji Ravi, has an affinity for aesthetic designs. His residence ‘Mathilummoottil’ constructed and conceptualised by RAIN Studio of Design in 2018 is a testomony to this. The house boasts an interaction of rustic textures with wooden, brass and lime plaster as the principle substances. So taken up was Ravi with the end result that he reached out to the architectural agency for one more dream venture quickly after. 

In June 2021, he alongside along with his associates — all IT professionals from Chennai — hatched a dream to have a sustainable getaway inbuilt Kuvathur. 

The weekend home in Karai is a sustainable property built by four friends
The weekend residence in Karai is a sustainable property constructed by 4 associates, Image supply: Vamsi

And principal architects of RAIN Studio of Design, Vamsi Krishna M, Sriram Adhitya, and Balashanmugam, have been greater than ecstatic to check out their sustainable concepts on this massive canvas. 

Following commencement from the College of Structure & Planning, Anna College, Chennai, the trio has undertaken a slew of housing initiatives. Every prides itself on a novel design philosophy — wooden and travertine marble buildings, geometrical play of supplies, and many others. 

Nevertheless, sustainability was not the preliminary thought for the ‘Karai’ weekend residence, as Ravi shares. “Coming from an IT background with a busy life within the city jungle, all we wished was a conventional calm weekend residence with that means that connects with nature. We didn’t have any sustainable concepts in thoughts.” 

Nevertheless, Vamsi and his workforce took one have a look at the 21,600 sq ft property and knew it was a piece of nature. They have been eager that this interprets into the ultimate design. Thus started the year-long journey of developing the sustainable dream within the coronary heart of Kuvathur. 

The 'Karai' home is made of mud, mortar and Mangalore tiles
The ‘Karai’ house is made from mud, mortar and Mangalore tiles, Image supply: Vamsi

Revisiting one’s roots 

Vamsi’s digital tour of the place offers a glimpse into how pure supplies make for glorious selections in structure. As he says, the house speaks the language of nature. And he isn’t flawed. 

The 4 associates, Shaji Ravi, Sanjeev Britto, Prabhakar Munuswamy, and Madhavan GG, made the transient clear on the onset. “They wished a easy construction that would accommodate all 4 households,” notes Vamsi. 

The buddies have been impressed by conventional South Indian houses and have been on the lookout for a conventional nalukettu home (a standard sort of structure present in Kerala, characterised by an oblong form composed of 4 sections joined by an open courtyard and a sloped roof). 

“The plan was very simple.” 

The four spaces of the home intersect in an open courtyard in the centre
The 4 areas of the house intersect in an open courtyard within the centre, Image supply: Vamsi

However, as with all venture, the design is closely depending on the essence of the location the place it’s constructed. And, as Vamsi factors out, this was no totally different. 

“Common visits to the placement, accompanied by casual conversations with the shopper performed a pivotal function in shaping our artistic journey. On our preliminary visits, we bought a way of the local weather of the area. The climate is harsh and humid for many of the 12 months. And so, choosing breathable supplies in development is the only option. We needed to decide supplies that age effectively,” he provides.

All through the development course of, the architects tied of their concepts with the shoppers’ desires of conventional architectural kinds. Vamsi shares, “We delved into cultural references that resonated with each the heritage of the area and the aspirations of the current.” 

A couple of situations the place that is evident is the interspersion of conventional South Indian motifs and designs unfold throughout the house — the long-lasting kuthuvelaku (a decorative brass lamp made from a collection of diyas), the intricate ikat patterns, and the timeless vizhaku madam (a conventional wall mount).

The home lets in ample sunlight and breeze ensuring the use of air conditioners is minimal
The house permits ample daylight and breeze making certain the usage of air conditioners is minimal, Image supply: Vamsi

Unconventional sources of magnificence 

At first look, the house’s spatial aesthetic is a head-turner. However look once more and you will notice, the wonder is lent by buildings which can be made from reclaimed materials. Whereas that is the delight of the venture, it was additionally probably the most difficult half, factors out Vamsi. 

“We stored upcycling as our core ideology, however there was intense analysis concerned on this. We got here up with a number of iterations and managed to make use of the reclaimed supplies to their highest potential.” He refers back to the Mangalore tiles that make up 75 p.c of the house. 

Along with this, Vamsi says they discovered loads of recycled, reclaimed home windows, and doorways, ripped off from outdated conventional homes on the freeway. They determined to channel these into the venture. “In truth, by repurposing the doorways and home windows, the wastage in supplies and the carbon footprint of creating new supplies has been reduce down.”

As we transfer alongside the rooms, there may be modernity blended with custom. “The ensuing design gives a recent perspective on the cultural legacy embedded in our architectural endeavours,” Vamsi says. 

The land was once barren and has been transformed into a thriving ecosystem with trees
The land was as soon as barren and has been remodeled right into a thriving ecosystem with bushes, Image supply: Vamsi

As the chums crave for weekends to jet off to the property, the workforce of architects is inexplicably pleased with their creation. 

“This was all barren,” Vamsi shares. However although met with this visible after they first undertook the venture, the trio determined to show it round by bringing in fertile soil from a neighbouring village and laying it on the land. They then proceeded to develop tropical and native bushes right here masking virtually 60 p.c of the world. 

Evidently, at this time they’ve managed to create a thriving ecosystem

Vamsi provides, “The excavated soil was reused for plasters and in making the Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB).”

In truth, the mini forest serves extra functions than one. It acts as a cushion for the sprawling 4 bedrooms with an hooked up bathtub and kitchenette setup. 

Brick laid courts and oxide flooring contributes to the aesthetic of the home
Brick laid courts and oxide flooring contributes to the aesthetic of the house, Image supply: Vamsi

As Vamsi explains, “We wished the home to be hidden inside a dense lush inexperienced panorama, so we positioned it within the southwest nook of the property and landscaped the complete north facet. The rooms and different dwelling areas such because the eating and kitchen are organised across the linear brick-laid courtroom. The lounge acts like a stage that overlooks the ocean and the horizon past. In the meantime, the ‘mutram’ or the courtroom acts as a multifunctional area to relaxation.”

This strategic positioning additionally signifies that 70 p.c of the home is open – to daylight and sea breeze. Other than these sustainable spatial options, there are additionally measures for rainwater harvesting on the property. “The sloping roof collects the vast majority of the rainwater and harvests it in a tank of 30,000 litres,” Vamsi notes. 

Conscientiousness in direction of nature’s assets radiates all through the property. In each nook and cranny, there may be area to breathe and keep nonetheless. As night units over the property, the chums might be seen stress-free, lazing and having fun with the silence. Shaji Ravi, in the meantime, has a spot he favours above all the remainder. 

The swing. “It’s nearer to the courtyard and barely shaded by the tree, with an exquisite breeze flowing by way of. It’s the most alive area of Karai.” 

A natural colour palette has been used in the home that complements the sustainable look
A pure color palette has been used within the residence that enhances the sustainable look, Image supply: Vamsi
The positioning of the home is done in a way that one can relax and watch the sea and sky from the patio
The positioning of the house is finished in a approach that one can chill out and watch the ocean and sky from the patio, Image supply: Vamsi
The house is built with an open plan system that enables privacy while also encouraging traditional nalukettu architecture
The home is constructed with an open plan system that allows privateness whereas additionally encouraging conventional nalukettu structure, Image supply: Vamsi
An aerial view of Karai weekend home
An aerial view of Karai weekend residence, Image supply: Vamsi
The home is made up of reclaimed wood and upcycled materials
The house is made up of reclaimed wooden and upcycled supplies, Image supply: Vamsi

Edited by Padmashree Pande.

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