• “Breathe”, An Earth House With Locally-Made Compressed Earth Blocks, Brick Jaalis And Courtyards | betweenlines 

    (129 Votes)

    Complete energy efficiency and a thriving landscape fit for a bird enthusiast—this was the driving force behind Breathe, Bangalore. With the residence only covering a quarter of the entire plot, an opportunity arose for the contoured land to be a sanctuary of sorts for the built form. Taking advantage of the inherent site levels, the house perches on the highest parcel, opening to a reserve forest to the east; BETWEENLINES designed “Breathe”, an earth house with locally-made compressed earth blocks, brick jaalis and courtyards.

    “Breathe”, An Earth House With Locally-Made Compressed Earth Blocks, Brick Jaalis And Courtyards | betweenlines 

    Visit : betweenlines 

    Editor’s note:  “BREATHE” is indeed an accurate name for this project. The earthen palette of chosen locally-sourced materials emphasizes an eco-living lifestyle. Here, the designers have incorporated various interesting details such as; graphical flooring patterns, stained windows in the staircase, perforated wall patterns in the bricks, and leaf inlays in the concrete. As part of the eco-living concept, the house showcases rammed earth walls with a clever tire foundation, another detail to consider.  ~ Aditi Shah (editor)

    Most of the material was taken from in and around the immediate site. Conventional SSM construction at the foundation was replaced with Rammed earth bed and Random rubble masonry unearthed from the site belly. As a further step, a redundancy study with the structural engineer replaced areas of lesser load transfer with vehicle tyres filled and rammed with earth making them into compressed earth discs, laid at infill zones.

    This step effectively cut cost, energy, construction miles and added to the core philosophy. Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks made locally and rammed earth walls keeps the project contextually relevant and the house easy to maintain.

    The concept of energy-efficiency extends to the inside, much like the rays of light through the perforations on the curved Jaali wall wherein the perforations also invite birds to nest in them—a living, breathing skin.

    The Jaali aids in ventilation with micro Chajjas made with waste Granite trims from the quarry laid course to course adapting to the overhang-less edges of the house, and not only protecting the earth walls from weathering but also shading it from the western sun.

    The inner courtyard enclosed on top by Ferroconcrete fins brings in a dynamic shadow play through the day. The system of courtyards provides thermal comfort. Athangudi tiles, handmade from the Chettinadu region was the farthest from which a material found its way into Breathe.

    Having seen the adverse effects of excess quarrying, the clients were clear not to use energy-mongering tiles for the flooring. Hence Athangudi in available patterns were taken and a gradient was created.

    Additionally, the muted earth walls were contrasted by the vibrant palette of the tiles, creating a specific ambiance to the house.

    Upcycled wood in the staircase and window frames, reused tiles in the bathroom and decorative imprints of local leaves on concrete surfaces—a residence that takes from and gives to its surroundings. Perhaps most importantly, the surrounding rain garden helps make water become one with the land creating a small ecosystem.

    The swale and retention pond – source, recharge and reuse water, supported by native plant species that create a lush habitat for the birds and animals that visit.

    A wide range of native plant species was identified and planted around the swale and the rest of the plot landscape based on privacy, land marshiness, seasonal response and density.

    By the completion of the project, the land attracted a lot more fauna than at the outset, achieving the goal of a thriving ecosystem. Thus the unbuilt gave meaning to the built, and the built, in turn, allows the unbuilt to flourish.


    Designed by : betweenlines 

    Project Type : Residential Architecture Design

    Project Name : Breathe

    Location : Bangalore

    Year Built : 2022

    Duration of project : 4 years

    Project Size: sq feet : 2400 Sq.ft

    Project Cost : 1.5 Crore

    Principal Architects : Deepa Suriyaprakash & Guru Prasanna. C

    Team Design Credits : Deepa Suriyaprakash, Guru Prasanna, Vanessa D’Souza, Jayanth G B, Dheeraj Belgaonkar, Aswani S L, Varsha Nambiar, Meenal Suresh, Anupama Prakash, Thamanna Fatima, Nainika Dasegowda, Iman Hashim & Vaishnavi.

    Landscape Architects : Smrithi Balvalli

    Photograph Courtesy : Raji Sunderkrishnan

    Products/Materials/Vendors : Wall Finish – Earth finish with “Zycosil” weather coating / Flooring – Athangudi tiles / Openings – Upcycled doors and windows / Counters – Ferroconcrete finish / Storage – Pallet wood & packaging wood.

    Firm’s Website Link : betweenlines 

    Firm’s Instagram Link : betweenlines 

    Firm’s Facebook Link : betweenlines 

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