How An Indian Bio-Architecture Firm Is Reimagining Housing Through Integrative Design

How An Indian Bio-Architecture Firm Is Reimagining Housing Through Integrative Design
Put Your Hands Together - BioArchitects

Put Your Hands Together isn't your typical architectural firm. Founded by Areen Attari and Shahveer Irani, this Mumbai-based practice champions a philosophy of "appropriate architecture". This translates to designing structures that seamlessly integrate with the surrounding ecosystem, fostering a deep connection between residents and the natural world.

Areen Attari, an architect and co-founder, brings a wealth of experience to the table. Since 2011, he's instilled a passion for community engagement in his work, collaborating on projects and leading natural building workshops. This commitment extends beyond aesthetics; Attari's dedication is evident in his role building house prototypes for the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Alongside him is Shahveer Irani, another architect and co-founder, whose international workshop experience broadens the firm's design perspective.

Nirvana farmhouse by Put Your Hands Together Bio-Architects
Nirvana farmhouse. KhadavliPut Your Hands Together Bio-Architects

Put Your Hands Together Bio-Architects prioritizes local and natural materials, minimizing environmental impact while creating sustainable and beautiful spaces. Their dedication shines through in projects like the Nirvana farmhouse, a 2,000 square foot haven nestled amidst a two-acre Maharashtra farmland. The design prioritizes connection to the landscape, with the main living areas arranged along a central axis that frames panoramic views of the farm. Privacy is ensured through thoughtfully placed bedrooms, toilets, and kitchens surrounding this central core. Courtyard spaces act as a buffer between the interior and exterior, offering a sense of arrival and transition. Sustainability is woven into the construction itself; load-bearing walls are built from Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEBs) manufactured on-site, ensuring cooler interior temperatures. The roof, crafted from mild steel sections, boasts a terracotta tile finish, adding a touch of local character.

Good Karma Farmhouse by Put Your Hands Together Bio-Architects
Good Karma Farmhouse, AlibaugPut Your Hands Together Bio-Architects

Another project, the Good Karma Farmhouse in Alibaug, exemplifies the firm's thoughtful approach to climate and location. Nestled amidst secluded farmlands with a mountainous backdrop, the farmhouse embodies a subtle architectural language. The design prioritizes passive cooling strategies, employing two-way sloping roofs with generous overhangs, raised floors, and deep verandahs. These elements work together to minimize heat gain while offering protection from heavy rainfall. Wattle and daub walls, constructed from split bamboo and timber frames with mud plaster, further enhance thermal comfort. Ventilation in the roof allows hot air to escape naturally, ensuring breathability in Alibaug's hot and humid climate.

The H&M homestay by Put Your Hands Together Bio-Architects
The H&M homestay, NashikPut Your Hands Together Bio-Architects

The H&M homestay in Nashik showcases Put Your Hands Together Bio-Architects' commitment to responsible material sourcing and minimizing waste. Nestled deep within the mountains, the site offers breathtaking valley views. Three guest cottages cascade down the mountainside, each strategically placed to offer unobstructed vistas. Sustainability is a key element; the flat green bamboo roofs seamlessly blend with the surrounding landscape. The client's house, nestled between two large trees, takes advantage of the natural contours, creating a terraced living space. Stone sourced from a demolished house nearby forms the retaining walls, while recycled materials are used for doors and windows. Cob, a sustainable building technique that utilizes earth from the site's excavation, forms the front wall facing the valley.

Put Your Hands Together Bio-Architects are more than just designers; they are storytellers. Through their innovative use of natural materials, community engagement, and commitment to sustainable practices, they create not just houses, but soulful sanctuaries that foster a deep connection between people and the natural world.

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