Location: Abirami nagar, Reddiyarpalam, Puducherry
Plot size: 40’ x 60’
Plinth area: 2700 sqft
Budget: 85 Lakhs rupees
Road: East and North side
Entrance: East facing
Architect: Ramya Prasad, RP Architects
Photography: Aswin, Ramya Prasad
Alamu Nilayam, a house with the focus to have natural energy balance and use of natural materials. The house was planned in such a way it is connected to the outside nature from inside.
When we enter the house, the house has a small garden and entrance thinnai in grey oxide with a large tall welcoming Kalimaruthu door – reclaimed wood door. This tall door catches everyone’s eyes at first sight. The entrance door leads to a small foyer with a CSEB (Compressed stabilized earth brick) mural and a Ganesha reflection light and natural diffused light from the north window.
This space leads into the living cum dining space. There is a small covered courtyard, an extension from the living, when the tall glass doors are opened, this space becomes part of the living and can host functions and also gives a cozy space with natural Karunkal – Black natural stone wall. The living has full east side windows, which lets in early morning sun into the entire house and even lit up the puja space every morning. There is a garden view from the living which gives the openness feeling and connects the users with the nature and outdoor environment.
The kitchen is a semi-open kitchen with a breakfast counter. The utility area next to the kitchen is again a covered courtyard, a connection to the kitchen garden and back yard garden.
The master bedroom, the grandma’s bedroom and daughter’s bedroom are placed in the western side of the house. To avoid the heat from the west, high density CSEB bricks are placed in a pattern to cut out the heat and at the same time greet one with a beautiful interior feature wall.
All the rooms have attached bathrooms, with Oxide walls, inbuilt wash basins with oxide finishes and rough natural stone flooring- for anti-skid property and eco-friendly.
The first floor has a small office space which can be used as a guest bedroom also when needed, with a pantry space and a bathroom. This space opens up into a large open terrace.
The entire house design has been done to have a proper North-South and East-West natural ventilation. East and North side have large windows till the top of the ceiling, to let out the hot air which builds up inside the house. Outside and South windows recessed to avoid direct heat into the house and creates a shading devise. The western windows are thin long windows which avoid heat from coming in and will let the cool breeze into the house.
The walls are made of natural materials like CSEB (Compressed stabilized earth brick), especially the west and south side to avoid the heat penetration through walls. Natural Karunkal- random stone walls cover courtyards walls and compound walls. Rest of the walls are built with fired brick and finished with colour oxides and painting is completely avoided.
The flooring of the entire house is done with non-industrial material. Only natural stones like yellow tandur, green tandur and black cuddapah are used. The main heavy use areas like the foyer, living, kitchen and utility are done with rough finish stones to give good grip while walking and for the wet areas like bathrooms, outdoors spaces, staircases etc. The rooms are done with natural hand polished stones.
All the wood work of the house is done with 100% reclaimed wood, old Kalimaruthu wood. The doors have a ventilator at the top, to have a constant cross ventilation in the rooms. Windows have both mosquito mesh doors and glass doors. All the windows go till the top of the ceiling to evacuate the hot air from inside and to let in the cool air from below.
The house roofs have two types of insulation. The first floor open terrace has a Aerocon based insulation with natural stone on the top. The second floor terrace has cool roof tiles. Both cut out the heat penetration from the ceiling.
The interiors of the house are done as part of the main house civil construction with natural stone – cuddapah shelf cupboards with simple plywood painted doors. There are inbuilt work tables in each room which avoid any need for additional furniture. Warm lights are used predominantly in the house to have a calm peaceful ambience even during the night. There is a semi-covered thinnai area (sitting) in the first floor which hosts formal and informal gathering, an extension of the open terrace.
The house is planned for the future as well. The entire rainwater which falls of the plot has been channelized and the construction bore well has been converted into rainwater harvesting tank and this water is sent into it, through a filtration tank. The solar panel provision on the second floor terrace, and EV vehicle charging points in the parking have also been provided.
The house gives the user a minimalistic, low embodied energy, eco-friendly and a sustainable environment to live in the town of Puducherry.