The Design Has A Cool Interior Without Artificial Means Using Stack Effect | HabitArt Architecture Studio

The design has a cool interior without artificial means using Stack Effect. Boulder Farmhouse is a mud haven nestled amidst the landscapes of Shoolagiri, a laidback village. The property is a testament to sustainable living and architectural ingenuity. This site, deep in elephant country, presents a unique canvas for an architectural endeavor that is respectful of its environment. This three-quarter acre of land is surrounded by boulders and plantations that slope towards a water catchment area. This little sanctuary away from the bustling city of Bangalore is planned over a footprint of 2400 sq.ft, snugly between boulders towards the North and South, opening towards a fruit plantation on the east.

Editor’s Note: In the warm embrace of nature surrounded by trees and boulders, this residential abode in Shoolagiri adopts all the natural ventilation strategies. Exposed and raw walls, pitched roofs with Mangalore tiles and open space planning enhances the natural beauty of this mud haven. Using repurposed materials and sustainable strategies, the residence stands as a testament to using vernacular techniques for modern living. ~Simran Khare.

The Design Has A Cool Interior Without Artificial Means Using Stack Effect | HabitArt Architecture Studio

Stack Effect

As the story goes, the name ‘Boulder House’ wasn’t just a stroke of architectural branding but a nod to the very essence of its surroundings. It was as if the land itself had a say in the matter, with its majestic boulders and rugged terrain inspiring not just the design but also the moniker.

Stack Effect

Drawing upon the vernacular architecture, the design meticulously incorporates mud, stone, wood, and clay – materials that have been the cornerstone of construction in this region for generations.

Stack Effect

Materiality and Craftsmanship

Stabilized mud blocks, crafted directly on-site, became the foundation of a dwelling designed to offer respite from the extreme heat characteristic of the area. The decision to use local materials was not only an ecological statement but a practical solution to the challenges posed by the region, contributing to optimizing costs and bolstering the local economy.

Stack Effect

Experienced “karigars and maistries”, a colloquial term for craftsmen, collaborated closely to construct a load-bearing structure that is as much a product of the community as it is of the land. This synergy between local expertise and natural materials underscores a commitment to sustainability that goes beyond the mere aesthetic, embedding the home within the fabric of Shoolagiri’s cultural and environmental landscape.

Stack Effect

The foundation of the Boulder House is not just a testament to engineering prowess but also to ecological sensitivity and resourcefulness. Utilizing quarry rock and mining waste, abundantly available materials yet often overlooked, the construction team laid the groundwork for a structure that is as stable as it is sustainable. By repurposing quarry rock, mining waste, and buildings from locally available earth, Boulder House minimizes its environmental footprint through these implementations.

Stack Effect

Natural Light and Ventilation

Upon entering the house, visitors are greeted by a double-height volume that immediately introduces the home’s core principle: ventilation. The design ensures that hot air pushes upwards and outwards through the principle of stack effect.

Open Layout

The open layout complements this natural ventilation strategy, where each space flows seamlessly into the next, allowing for uninterrupted views across the house. A thoughtfully designed walkway connects the first-floor bay window area to other parts of the house, enhancing the fluidity of movement and interaction within the space. These bay windows, strategically placed to capture the mesmerizing sunset views, further blur the boundaries between inside and out. 

Stack Effect

The presence of a rock outcrop behind the house creates a natural courtyard that spills out from the living. This feature highlights the interplay between the built and landscape and plays a crucial role in reducing heat ingress from the south.  This thoughtful integration of natural elements and architectural design underscores the home’s harmonious balance with its environment.

Pitched Roof

The high-volume pitched roofs feature clay tiles from Mangalore that provide a layer of thermal insulation. Some of these tiles consist of glass inserts that capture specks of sunlight that dynamically change positions during the day. The flat roofs consist of porotherm clay block fillers that greatly reduce the usage of concrete, effectively reducing heat penetration into the interior space.

Sustainable Practices

The farmhouse is powered by an 8KW solar backup that completely functions off the grid. The excess electricity goes back to the grid, which is bought back by the local statutory body and keeps the house completely independent of the grid.

Rainwater harvesting channels through the sloped roofs and gutters placed at various points, draining surface water into rainwater tanks below ground. This water finds its purpose for landscaping and other miscellaneous domestic purposes, including a drip irrigation system for the plantation.

Bio Waste goes to a Bio-digester rather than a local septic tank. The Bio Digester system from Re-Leaf works efficiently to segregate sludge waste and water through the implementation of baffle walls.

The sludge breaks down into simplified matter through bio-enzymes that periodically need to be fed into the enzyme chamber.

This system thus prevents the contamination of groundwater through this process. The Boulder House in Shoolagiri is a celebration of its environment, a showcase of sustainable architecture through stack effect and Rainwater harvesting, and a collaboration between man and nature. In the heart of elephant country, amidst boulders and plantations, it offers a blueprint for the future of sustainable living, where design meets environmental responsibility at every turn.

Fact File

Designed by: HabitArt Architecture Studio

Project Type: Residential Architecture Design

Project Name: Boulder House

Location: Shoolagiri, Tamil Nadu

Year Built: 2024

Built-up Area: 2400 Sq.ft

Principal Architect: Ar. Aditya Venkat

Photograph Courtesy:

Design, Drawings And Project Management: Rochana R- Associate

Design And Drawings: Yogita K, Divya C

Project Coordination And Engineering: Reddy Venkataramana

Contractor: D. Swethadri and Co

Electrical: Swethadri

Structural Engineers: Punarvi Infrastructure- Sharath (director)

Source: Archdaily

Firm’s Website Link: HabitArt Architecture Studio

Firm’s Instagram Link: HabitArt Architecture Studio

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