AI11_21_2018_2_06_03_AM_COVER.jpg
THE BAMBOO HOUSE

The structure adopts strategies like upcycling junk, using excavated mud and natural material for construction and incorporating rain-water harvesting. But each element deviates slightly from its regular application.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

A catchment-pond is provided on the plot alongside which the house is built. While it seems like a vista for the staircase and living areas, the catchment tackles water-logging problems.

SECOND FLOOR PLAN

The roof-slab of the house extends over the waterbody and the space between them is enclosed in a scooping-fashion by the bamboo grill.

SECTION

Section through the catchment-pond.

ELEVATION

Elevation illustrating the bamboo façade detail – while the bamboo façade is the home’s most visual feature, it is also a grille that encloses the living areas and on the first floor, screens the bedroom balcony from the adjoining road.

THE BAMBOO façade - CONCEPTUAL SKETCH

A rough conceptual illustration of the bamboo façade.

THE BAMBOO façade – CONCEPTUAL SKETCH

A rough conceptual illustration of the bamboo façade.

THE BAMBOO façade-CUM-SEATING SPACE

Each bamboo has been bent to the curved profile by heating. The bamboos are curved to the same profile and their orientation is rotated after 6-7 pieces to achieve the spiralling aesthetic.

COMPRESSED-STABILIZED-EARTH-BLOCK JAALIS

In the exteriors, alternate bricks are rotated and laid to create small niches in each course.

UPCYCLED JAALIS

Scrap washing-machine base plates were used to create another system of jaalis in the living areas and bedrooms on the house-frontage. For the back, mosquito mesh is used.

FURTHER DETAILS WITH THE JAALI

Scrap washing-machine base plates were used to create another system of jaalis in the living areas and bedrooms on the house-frontage. For the back, mosquito mesh is used.

FURTHER DETAILS OF THE UP-CYCLING

The staircase, constructed from ferro-cement, uses a metal-mesh formwork which is either discarded or sold as scrap. Wallmakers utilized the used mesh to create handrails for the staircase and also shelves.

AND SOME MORE UP-CYCLING

Steel-pipes and rods from scrap are used for the base of legs and tables. The table-tops and chair-seats are created from uprooted trees and wood discarded in sawmills.

LANDSCAPE THAT’S ALMOST UP-CYCLED

The house is pushed to the back of the plot and the frontage is extensively landscaped with vegetation and grass that from within and around the plot.

AI11_21_2018_2_06_03_AM_COVER.jpg
Workspace 22 Nov 2018

How did this residence by Wallmakers manage to exhaust all supplies of washing machine base-plates across Kerala?

The Bamboo House in Trivandrum intends to create an eco-friendly home. The structure adopts strategies like upcycling junk, using excavated mud and natural material for construction and incorporating rain-water harvesting. But each element deviates slightly from their regular application. CQ finds out how, why and what becomes thereafter.

The brief provided to Ernakulam-based architectural firm Wallmakers was to create an ecologically sound home. To this they responded with a mud and bamboo structure with an RCC framework. Mud and bamboo structures are often beautiful but only a few incorporate a weightless floating aesthetic like the Bamboo House. Built with Compressed-Stabilized-Earth-Blocks or CSEB bricks, the house has almost no windows or solid external walls but interesting prototypes of jaalis that envelope the home. While the bamboo façade appears to be a visual feature it enables safety and privacy. The central pond that seems like a vista for the staircase and living areas is a catchment to tackle waterlogging. The weightlessness, the bamboo façade and the jaali, all have stories imbibed within.

THE BAMBOO HOUSE

The structure adopts strategies like upcycling junk, using excavated mud and natural material for construction and incorporating rain-water harvesting. But each element deviates slightly from its regular application.

The water-body and the weightless wonder

Located in Trivandrum, the site is a low-lying plot as the neighbouring plots were raised for construction. The primary intervention was a catchment-pond alongside which the house is built. The roof-slab of the house extends over the waterbody and the space between them is enclosed in a scooping-fashion by the bamboo grill.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

A catchment-pond is provided on the plot alongside which the house is built. While it seems like a vista for the staircase and living areas, the catchment tackles water-logging problems.

SECOND FLOOR PLAN

The roof-slab of the house extends over the waterbody and the space between them is enclosed in a scooping-fashion by the bamboo grill.

Bamboozled by Bamboo

The home’s most striking feature, the bamboo façade, is a grill devised for privacy and safety. When viewed from the interiors, the bamboo blends with the outdoors and creates a seamless connect with the external landscape. The internal staircase, constructed in ferro-cement is supported by the bamboo.

SECTION

Section through the catchment-pond.

The stairway extends a tread to the exteriors after every 7 steps. This creates a seating within the bamboo grill that is accessed only from the first-floor. On the nether end of the first-floor, the bamboo grill shields the master-bedroom balcony from the main road.

ELEVATION

Elevation illustrating the bamboo façade detail – while the bamboo façade is the home’s most visual feature, it is also a grille that encloses the living areas and on the first floor, screens the bedroom balcony from the adjoining road.

Mud and bamboo structures are often beautiful but few incorporate a weightless floating aesthetic like the Bamboo House does.

How was this bamboo reinforced and treated?

To get a curved profile, bamboos procured from Costford were soaked in a mix of borax and boric acid for a stipulated period before working with it. This treatment endows bamboo a life of 30-35 years which would otherwise deteriorate in 5-6 years. The bamboo is reinforced with steel bars for strength to support the stairway and avoid break-ins. A continuous I-section beam of 24 meters runs parallel to the structure to hold the bamboo grill.

THE BAMBOO façade - CONCEPTUAL SKETCH

A rough conceptual illustration of the bamboo façade.

THE BAMBOO façade – CONCEPTUAL SKETCH

A rough conceptual illustration of the bamboo façade.

Structural system

While Wallmakers utilise rammed earth construction for most projects, the low Soil Bearing Capacity (SBC) on this site mandated a Raft Foundation with an RCC framework. There are no windows or solid external walls but different prototypes of jaalis enclose the structure. Only the bedrooms have glass-windows for privacy. They fashioned CSEB bricks with excavated soil for the walls.

THE BAMBOO façade-CUM-SEATING SPACE

Each bamboo has been bent to the curved profile by heating. The bamboos are curved to the same profile and their orientation is rotated after 6-7 pieces to achieve the spiralling aesthetic.

And some more jaalis

Scrap washing-machine base plates were used to create another system of jaalis in the living areas and bedrooms on the house-frontage. The baseplate have 4 legs that are welded onto one another to create a jaali or screen. The architects exhausted all scrap base-plates in Kochi, Trivandrum and adjoining cities and sourced them from the extents of Chennai to make this possible. For the back, mosquito mesh has been used.

COMPRESSED-STABILIZED-EARTH-BLOCK JAALIS

In the exteriors, alternate bricks are rotated and laid to create small niches in each course.

UPCYCLED JAALIS

Scrap washing-machine base plates were used to create another system of jaalis in the living areas and bedrooms on the house-frontage. For the back, mosquito mesh is used.

And some more up-cycling

The staircase, constructed from ferro-cement, uses a metal-mesh formwork which is either discarded or sold as scrap. Wallmakers utilised this used mesh to create handrails for the staircase and also shelves. Steel-pipes and rods from scrap were used for the base of legs and tables. The table-tops and chair-seats were created from uprooted trees and wood discarded in sawmills.

FURTHER DETAILS WITH THE JAALI

Scrap washing-machine base plates were used to create another system of jaalis in the living areas and bedrooms on the house-frontage. For the back, mosquito mesh is used.

FURTHER DETAILS OF THE UP-CYCLING

The staircase, constructed from ferro-cement, uses a metal-mesh formwork which is either discarded or sold as scrap. Wallmakers utilized the used mesh to create handrails for the staircase and also shelves.

While the project adopts common elements of eco-friendly architecture, the slight shift in implementation renders the home a distinct character. Perhaps, its elements can be further adapted, tweaked and pushed towards loftier works and ideas!

AND SOME MORE UP-CYCLING

Steel-pipes and rods from scrap are used for the base of legs and tables. The table-tops and chair-seats are created from uprooted trees and wood discarded in sawmills.

LANDSCAPE THAT’S ALMOST UP-CYCLED

The house is pushed to the back of the plot and the frontage is extensively landscaped with vegetation and grass that from within and around the plot.

Liked this? Then you will love the rest of their work here! Also, more stories from our series Repurposed, here.