Little River Architects, a multi-disciplinary design firm based in Bangalore, roots a design concept within a natural and cultural context and at the same time allows it to connect to the abstract.
Wikipedia states that, “Sustainable architecture is a general term that describes environmentally conscious design techniques in the field of architecture. Most simply, the idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations.”
A young artist couple, who had recently decided to move out of Bangalore and relocate, commissioned Architect Ceejo Cyriac of Little River Architects to build their dream home; the architect is an individual whose work is led by his soul and one who was incidentally discovered as a happy result of a ‘viva voce’ communication with friends.
A five acre piece of land situated in a small town called Sagar in the Shimoga district of Karnataka, 350 km away from Bangalore, was entrusted to Ceejo, who decided to blend regional and contemporary characters into this project whilst rooting the design very carefully in the majorly undisturbed ambience of the region. The resulting structure is a reflection of the compassion shown to the environment by the architect and his innate skill of marrying the taste and lifestyle of current times with core green architectural features.
The house is designed as a linear strip encompassing the living, dining and kitchen, in a conscious effort to maximise on the beatific views of an unspoilt terrain. The master bedroom branches out to the west from this strip. Other features which help bring in pockets of the omnipresent nature are the verandah between the main house and the guest room. The verandah attached to the master bedroom and its bathroom which has an open to sky courtyard with no less than a tree growing in it is one more charming aspect.
The house has a unique green quotient; being located on a rocky terrain, it had a reduced foundation requirement; no trees were cut down and all the wild species of plants found on site and around were not only retained but propagated as well. Only locally available Laterite stone that too mined from within a less than 50 km. radius was used for the masonry. This feature along with engaging local labourers brought down the overall travel miles incurred.
MS posts and aluminium windows were used for the entire length of the house.Designed with generous proportions, these elements ensured the natural gain of light and ventilation. An open well also serves as an additional water source and rainwater runoff is used to water the farm and recharge the well.
Several other eco-friendly features can be detected all over which are the outcome of the simple and compassionate nature of the architect. On asking him about his straightforward and un-embellished concept Ceejo says,“I believe that truth is the essence of beauty and if you look in nature you will see many examples of this. The simplest thing in nature can be an object of immense beauty as it has responded to the many forces of nature in a truthful manner.”
The clients being artists themselves, when commissioning this project put down only one premise and that was that the house should be in sync with its surroundings.
Taking a cue from this Ceejo put in a sloping roof to combat the heavy rainfall prevalent in this region and clad it with a ‘breathing’ Mangalore tile roofing.
The project execution was challenging as the site was in a place where there was an absence of quality contractors. The successful coordination between the architects and the locally available labour helped in overcoming the issue.
Talking about his passion/work Ceejo shares that he loves dealing with real situations and in this field his one-on-one interaction with people such as masons and other crafts-persons always teaches him a thing or two. “You see they have worked with the material longer, so it is me who is learning all the time.” A satisfied architect looks back proudly at his raison d’etre.