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BHOOMI BY TROPIC RESPONSES

Meet Bhoomi, a home in Bengaluru, whose makeover is a radical shift towards eco-friendly architecture and living.

BHOOMI: ANNOTATION AND DENOTION

Bhoomi, the Sanskrit word for earth, soil, used to be an RCC building. It was literally uplifted by alternate construction and equipped with services that make it self-sustainable.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN (OLD STRUCTURE)

The ground floor was not built to support an additional floor over it. Steel-columns were erected on the periphery of the ground-floor and the first storey was built over them.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN (NEW STRUCTURE)

The first-floor offsets the ground-floor, creating a verandah that envelopes the ground floor on all sides.

THE EXTENSION

Diagram illustrating the modifications and additions to the old structure.

THE NEW CONSTRUCTION METHODS

The first-floor construction involves filler slabs, rammed-earth walls and compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB).

RAMMED EARTH

Used primarily on the boundary wall, rammed earth construction entails mud and other binding aggregates are layered inside a formwork and rammed to form a compact strata. These strata are layered one above another to form a wall.

The architects furthered the filler-slab technique by introducing openings in the slab that were filled with terracotta frustums and enclosed with glass.

THE WALLS AND A PUSH-PULL OF CSEB BLOCKS

The (Compressed stabilised earth blocks) CSEB were as walls but, to create patterns on solid surfaces and jaalis in the courtyards, balconies, etc. The blocks are projected from the walls to create a push-pull effect.

THE SADARAHALLI STONE STAIRCASE DETAIL

Sadarahalli stone slabs are used as steps. They are cantilevered on the CSEB walls. They continue through the wall into the interior of the building creating an offsetted pattern on the inside of the wall.

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Workspace 25 Dec 2018

Musings on Mud: Bhoomi by Tropic Responses – a home that embodies its name

Meet Bhoomi, a home in Bengaluru, whose makeover is a radical shift towards eco-friendly architecture and living. Bhoomi, the Sanskrit word for earth, soil, used to be an RCC building. It was literally uplifted by alternate construction and equipped with services that make it self-sustainable. And then these alternate methods were further extended and tweaked (again, literally) to embody Bhoomi.

Bhoomi or earth is where life sprouts and bhoomi is eventually what all beings dissipate into. Everything that refuses to become one with mud is deemed environmentally hazardous. Think non-biodegradable waste, plastic, thermocol, rubber, nylon and so on. For Bhoomi, the Bangalore-based Tropic Responses added a storey over an existing RCC building in their city with the intent that the new home would be wholly self-sustainable.

BHOOMI BY TROPIC RESPONSES

Meet Bhoomi, a home in Bengaluru, whose makeover is a radical shift towards eco-friendly architecture and living.

All that it produces, reuses and recycles

Most household waste is processed within the home. Kitchen waste is processed in a biogas plant that produces natural cooking gas and replaces LPG by 80%.  A soil bio-filtration plant purifies water from the kitchen, shower, washing and utility; the filter medium being the roots of plants. This water is used for flushing and gardening. The gardening entails an organic garden on the terrace that grows a minimum of 10 species of flowers and vegetables at a time.

BHOOMI: ANNOTATION AND DENOTION

Bhoomi, the Sanskrit word for earth, soil, used to be an RCC building. It was literally uplifted by alternate construction and equipped with services that make it self-sustainable.

Everything that refuses to become one with mud is deemed environmentally hazardous. Think non-biodegradable waste, plastic and so on.

The structure - CSEB walls & Rammed Earth

The new structure on the first floor extends beyond the footprint of the ground-structure. The ground floor is load-bearing and supports the first floor up to its periphery. The first-floor offsets the ground-floor, creating a verandah that envelopes it on all sides. The extended floor from the existing ground-floor footprint is supported by newly constructed steel and RCC columns.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN (OLD STRUCTURE)

The ground floor was not built to support an additional floor over it. Steel-columns were erected on the periphery of the ground-floor and the first storey was built over them.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN (NEW STRUCTURE)

The first-floor offsets the ground-floor, creating a verandah that envelopes the ground floor on all sides.

The first-floor construction involves filler slabs and compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB) for the structure. The CSEB were used not only as walls but also to create patterns on solid surfaces and jaalis in the courtyards, balconies, etc. The blocks are projected from the walls to create a push-pull effect. From the balcony of the first-floor, Sadarahalli stone slabs are used as steps till halfway. They are cantilevered on CSEB walls. They continue through the wall into the interior of the building creating an offsetted pattern on the inside of the wall.

THE NEW CONSTRUCTION METHODS

The first-floor construction involves filler slabs, rammed-earth walls and compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB).

A rammed-earth boundary wall was also constructed. For rammed earth construction, mud and other binding aggregates are layered inside a formwork and rammed to form a compact stratum. These strata are layered one above another to form a wall. Quarry-dust was increased in the mixture to obtain the grey shaded layer as seen on the wall.

THE EXTENSION

Diagram illustrating the modifications and additions to the old structure.

The first-floor offsets the ground-floor, creating a verandah that envelopes it on all sides.

Filler slabs with a twist and punctures

The architects furthered the filler-slab technique by introducing openings in the slab that were filled with terracotta frustums and enclosed with glass. This detail proved challenging because it is easy to lay materials in shuttering and pour concrete over them, encasing everything compactly. But providing openings meant that the shuttering had to be modified to accommodate niches of circular profiles! The frustrums were kept in place during casting, but to project the frustrum out of the slab at the bottom was challenging.

RAMMED EARTH

Used primarily on the boundary wall, rammed earth construction entails mud and other binding aggregates are layered inside a formwork and rammed to form a compact strata. These strata are layered one above another to form a wall.

The architects furthered the filler-slab technique by introducing openings in the slab that were filled with terracotta frustums and enclosed with glass.

Floored by floors and more

The new flooring ranges from handmade customised Athangudi Tiles, to Jaisalmer stone and Kota with Jaisalmer stone inlays. Reclaimed timber columns from Kings & Queens in Bengaluru are used as load-bearing columns on the upper floor. While the floor or the columns are not made of mud, they still uphold the earthy aesthetic of ‘Bhoomi’! And it is not only the outward appearance that embody earth. A major chunk of the new construction is developed with mud. And like all mud that originates and goes back to earth, nurturing life within and above, Bhoomi too, enables a similar progression and life-cycle for itself and its inhabitants.

THE WALLS AND A PUSH-PULL OF CSEB BLOCKS

The (Compressed stabilised earth blocks) CSEB were as walls but, to create patterns on solid surfaces and jaalis in the courtyards, balconies, etc. The blocks are projected from the walls to create a push-pull effect.

THE SADARAHALLI STONE STAIRCASE DETAIL

Sadarahalli stone slabs are used as steps. They are cantilevered on the CSEB walls. They continue through the wall into the interior of the building creating an offsetted pattern on the inside of the wall.

Do check out more of their works here!

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