The language used to express sustainable design is rapidly developing with an evolving grammar and vocabulary. Architects are not only rendering artistic implications to sustainability but are also building it up as a viable and practical line of design.
Architects today are most adeptly eliminating the practice of waste through the concept of good design. Good Earth, a firm managed by a core group of professionals has been a pioneer in the field of alternative architecture and environment friendly development. Its expertise in creating sustainable neighbourhoods has been recognised by Asia’s largest Green Design competition in Singapore: The Future Arc Green Leadership Award 2015.
Good Earth Malhar, an eco-village spread over 50 acres of land and located in Kengeri, Bangalore is one of this firm’s recent projects. The masterminds behind Good Earth Malhar – Stanley George, Parthsarthy S, Jeeth and Natasha Iype have been experimenting with alternatives in architecture and exploring concepts of holistic development through various ventures in their long journey of twenty-eight years.
Natasha Iype, Director on behalf of Good Earth states that, “Design has the power to change the way we live. It enhances and can reinforce the intention of any community.” Sustainability lies in creating spaces for the soul by integrating the individual home into a community. The sharing of spaces, amenities, renewable resources and most essentially values becomes the nucleus of the community. It engages every participant in a process of continual involvement.
Good Earth Malhar Patterns based in Bangalore is the fifth community of the Malhar eco-village and is set amidst 13 acres of land. The community is divided into two sections – Patterns A and Patterns B, each having its unique salient character. The open plan homes are cleverly designed spaces with minimal walls or no walls.
The interior space seems to flow seamlessly from the entrance verandah, through the living and dining areas, to the rear verandah and into the retral garden. This facilitates a sense of spaciousness into a compact plan making it easy to appreciate the beauty of nature from within the home.
The architecture advocates comfort without opulence, not abandoning the fact that the space be a celebration of nature and earth. The space responds to basic requirements through a multi-use solution. Large windows, wide verandahs, air channels for circulation and thermally conducive materials respond perfectly to reduce the necessity of artificial light and ventilation. Provision for connecting solar power heaters and photo-voltaic panels for power are fixed on the roof.
All houses have wiring that is linked to an inverter which has a conduit laid on the roof. Solar geysers are installed on the roofs to ensure hot water. In addition to all the green measures, rainwater from the roofs is collected through a network of pipes and then filtered into the main water tank. Sewage treatment plants recycle all the waste water via a series of bio-filters. This water is then reused to flush toilets and irrigate gardens. Materials used all over are sourced locally and are used in their natural form.
All Malhar homes are built using compressed stabilised mud blocks that are scientifically developed to be strong and durable. It is the only project in which almost about 4 lakh square feet of space has been constructed using mud blocks. These mud blocks help in reducing indoor temperatures by a marked 2-3 degree centigrade. A network of streets and landscaped courtyards encircle the homes. Water bodies present in between the homes double up as rainwater collection and recharge zones. Underground service ducts take care of electricity and communications and also provide for broadband connectivity.
Quiet groves which can evolve over the years as untouched natural habitats have been created to help experience the environment and composting biodegradable solid waste within the community is one of the many thoroughly thought over steps that have been adopted in order to reduce the carbon footprint.
In the words of Natasha Iype, “Tree planting needs a careful study of the species and the composition of soil. Timber species, grown within the property is used as an aesthetic sustainable source for adding elegance and panache to the homes. This also aids in negating the use of high energy consuming steel and aluminum for the doors and windows. Good Earth most consciously took to planting ten trees for every tree cut in the construction of Malhar.
As Jeeth Iype, Director defines himself, “I am passionate about innovation and translating ideas into architecture,” and as Stanley George, Director, puts it, “My goal in life is to work towards a sensitive and equitable world.”
Malhar is a reflection of beliefs and ideals of the brains behind it. Good Earth’s architectural departures are totally environment driven. It reinstates that green technology comes after green design – one does not look for green solutions to problems cropped up by insensitive design. Good Earth unequivocally takes the effort within the design to create complacent and convenient spaces that tread ever so lightly on Earth.
Text By Kanupriya Pachisia
Photographs Courtesy Good Earth