India’s population has grown four-fold to a whopping 1.37 billion as of 2018 from a mere 350 million at the time of independence. With a bludgeoning influx of migrants into India’s growing cities, urban homes have grown smaller and are known to eject tonnes of waste daily, making parts of these cities, large, modern dump yards where waste stagnates and occupies a massive portion of its total area.
While innovations in recent times have produced concepts such as ‘green homes’ and ‘eco-homes’, India still seems to lag far behind most developed nations with respect to tackling its housing and waste-production epidemic.
Green homes are often considered to be homes that use less water, conserve natural resources, are a product of recycled materials and reduce the overall waste generation when compared to normal urban homes.
India has taken an ambitious oath to increase its green output to 10% by 2022, despite barely reaching a meagre 5% as of 2018. While notable advances in this shift to sustainable homes have been made, one particular tale of a green home takes us all the way down to Kerala.
Thiruvananthapuram-based architect Ashams Ravi set out on a rather ambitious task to build his dream house out of recycled material. The architect’s beautiful home, christened ‘The Canaan’, is located in the quaint town of Kazhakoottam which is a half-an-hour drive from Trivandrum.
Ravi’s humble abode is a product of waste material such as discarded beer bottles, bamboo, glass panes, iron rods, and more salvaged from several demolition sites across the region. With an earthy brick tone and a myriad of large open spaces, the house could easily pass off as a modern urban mansion.
As an architect who was strongly drawn towards sustainability, Ravi’s inspiration for his entirely eco-friendly home came to him after the 2018 Kerala floods that ravaged the state.
With minimal use of cement, this two-storey building was built entirely out of mud and bricks on 2500 Sq Ft of land. There is no dearth of visually appealing spaces in this home, that reuses old discarded items such as beer bottles for lampshades, wall installations, and more.
Adequate open spaces and the preservation of the natural, green landscape surrounding the house has ensured that sustainability extends beyond just the construction of the house all the way to its day-to-day maintenance.
With an exposed brick adding to its vintage charm, the house also comes with a thermal insulator which ensures that the interiors remain cool in summers and warm during winters, subsequently reducing the need for excessive electricity consumption.
There are several things that make The Canaan a model home for urban and suburban dwellers but the highlight of the entire process was that the entirety of the home was built in just under 4-months, with minimal labour!
The young architect picked up the skills required and a large portion of his inspiration through his training with COSTFORD (The Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development), an architectural non-profit organisation that aims to further the state government’s sustainable planning initiatives.
The organisation is also known to take on clients who cannot afford to pay for their services by creating affordable and low-cost sustainable homes suited to their preferences.
Ashams genuine attempt at leading by action has inspired several of his clients in the recent past to adopt sustainable and green ways to construct their dream home.
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