This enchanting abode at Kakkanad in Ernakulam district in Kerala was conceived from the idea to bring a radical change in the construction trends in Kerala. Architect couple Ajay Abey and Thara Pandala has always been promoters of eco-friendly homes. They have designed many sustainable houses that are also small havens of greenery, at various places around the state.
The couple has been trying to work out the feasibility of a few novel ideas that could open up a new era of sustainable and low cost construction. The house that the couple has designed for Ajay’s parents became the experimenting model where they have successfully executed their brilliant ideas. Interestingly, one wouldn’t see a sturdy foundation for this house. The walls of this house aren’t cement plastered. Besides, the roof too isn’t plastered. The construction cost is significantly low as the walls do not need coats of emulsion or paint. Ajay and Thara say that the common man could easily fulfil his/her dream of building a house of their own if this model of construction grabs popularity.
The house that stands in 6 cents doesn’t feel congested and requires minimal maintenance. Hence, it becomes the perfect dwelling for the aged parents to enjoy their retired life. The walls are built using AAC bricks (Aerated Concrete Blocks) made with the fly ash obtained when industrial waste is processed. These are less heavy and do not require sand while constructing the walls. Besides, these walls need not be plastered. Interestingly, it can effectively reduce the heat inside the house. The walls are built using a concoction of cement and adhesive.
Designed in 1600 sqft, this amazing abode has a car porch, sit out, living area, dining area, kitchen with a work area and two bedrooms in the ground floor. Meanwhile, there is only a bath attached bedroom in the upper floor. The rest of the area has been left as an open terrace. The interiors are designed in the open style. The living – dining – kitchen – stair area are arranged as part of the vaster hall. This ensures excellent space efficiency and cross ventilation too.
Taking advantage of the double height ceiling in the dining area, a mezzanine floor has been included in the first landing of the stairway. The interiors are designed in a way to make maintenance easier. This is evident from the simple designs and furnishing in the kitchen and the bedrooms.
Before tiles, granite and marble dominated the floors of the houses in Kerala, the earthy saffron flooring was commonly used here. People loved to lie down on these cool oxide floors even during the harsh summers. Instead of red oxide, yellow oxide flooring has been used in this house, adding a rustic charm to the interiors.
Ajay is of the opinion that most houses in Kerala are built by wasting the natural resources just to ensure structural stability. The nature of the foundation could be altered depending upon the texture of the soil in each region. Ajay and Thara had developed a unique way of building foundation as the soil here is quite sturdy. Beams are what hold the weight of the house. An outer structure made using plastered belts, meanwhile, connects these beams. The walls are connected using pipes and are then paved with wire mesh.
The walls in the upper floor too are built using the AAC bricks. Meanwhile, the outer walls are given a coat of caustic lime instead of paint. Similarly, instead of sunshades, metal sheets are screwed onto the walls. All these helped in reducing the use of concrete. There is no need for door and window frames when AAC bricks are used. Wooden planks could be directly screwed onto the walls. This played a vital role in lowering the expenses as the use of timber are limited.
The GI truss roof is paved with mud tiles. Meanwhile, a thermocol insulator is paved underneath the roof. Then, a layer of GI sheet comes below it. This three layered roof helps in maintaining a cool and comfortable atmosphere inside the house. The walls are coated with a mixture made of soil from the plot and adhesive.
Usually, the cost to build a house like this would be around Rs 1800 per square feet. Interestingly, Ajay and Thara were able to reduce the construction cost by 30%. Moreover, Ajay was on the site, supervising the construction at all the stages. The interiors have a cool and calming ambience that is very alluring. People who have seen this house now contact the architects to design such sustainable and low cost homes for them too. Meanwhile, Ajay and Thara are planning to get patent for the unique technology that they have developed through keen observation and experiments. They claim that this technology could help people build amazing eco-friendly houses on a pocket friendly budget.
Location – Pattimattom, Kakkanad
Plot – 6 cents
Area – 1600 SFT
Owner – Abraham and Jeysili
Architects - Ajay Abey and Thara Pandala
Center for Sustainable Build and Environment, Kochi
Mob – 85930 61706
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Year of construction - 2020