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Journey towards Sustainable communities

Founders of Good Earth Homes (From Left to right) Mr Parthasarathy S, Mr Jeeth Iype, Ms Natasha Iype and Stanley George

Good Earth has evolved from an NGO to a design, build & development group. It is now developing propertiesin Bangalore, Kochi and Calicut thatare socially, environmentally and architecturally responsible.

Based on the work and philosophy of late Laurie Baker, Good Earth was started by a group of architects and engineers who abide by his belief in sustainable architecture. The team,comprising architects and builders Stanley George, Jeeth & NatashaIype and Parthasarathy S have been experimenting with alternatives in architecture, exploring concepts of holistic development, through ventures in housing, organic farming and tourism. The properties are built-up with green technology bringing out the most aesthetic designs close to the nature.

The designer’s approach towards sustainable development has been practical, holistic and intuitive responding to the social,political and cultural landscape of each location. Their latest project- Good Earth Malhar located in Kengeri, Bangalore is an eco village spread over fifty acres of land. It has a total of 160 units which is completed and 150 units under construction. Designed to accommodate 500 families, it is divided into five communities of 60 to 90 families each, with an extent of 7-12 acres. Patterns, the fifth community of the Malhar eco village comprises 92 town houses spread across 13 acres of land.

The eco-village continues with the aesthetic traditions of the development comprising friendly streets that wind leisurely around cluster parks, thriving green gardens and community areas. Open spaces emerge from within homes and flow in to the lavish courtyards,gardens, verandahs and balconies.

The Open plan homes are cleverly designed spaces with minimal walls or no walls at all and seem to flow seamlessly from the entrance verandah, through the living and dining areas to the rear verandah and into the rear garden.This creates a sense of spaciousness in an otherwise compact plan and the beauty of the outdoors can be appreciated from various points within the home. Additionally, the position of the plot in the layout and proximity to the parks decide the emphasis on the front or rear garden.

The attempt has been to bring about change through experiments which blend traditional concepts with contemporary life styles using technology as anaide. Also, being “green”apart from techniques and design is an intention to care for people, nature and the earth. In sync,Malhar Patterns concept of design layouts and open plan homes are based on how people live in them, use them and how the home can help residents interact with their neighborhood.

Techniques

Foundation: Load-bearing stone foundations are built using dry packed stone below ground and built in cement above ground. A plinth beam ties the foundation together at the plinth level.

Walls: From cavity walls that keep out the heat to composite stone walls that allow for the strength and beauty of stone while accommodating the utilities are some of the techniques used. Screen walls built with bottles or with terracotta jaal is play a different role and enrich the spaces they enclose.

Lintels: Apart from concrete lintels,stone slabs, wooden beams and steel is used to span some types of openings.Using arches and corbels instead of beams is another way to span openings.

Floors: Using reinforced cement concrete for the floor slabs and efficiently designed spaces lead to economic structural design of slabs.Stairs are built in reinforced cement concrete, steel and wood.

Roof: A double roof or a cavity roof, works best in Indian climate which waterproof the space below as well as reduce the heat within the space. This double roof manifest as a filler slab,with terracotta Mangalore tiles and concrete composite or a reinforced concrete roof with a lighter sheet above it. For semi open spaces like verandahs and car parks, Mangalore roofing tile are used wherever the slope is possible.

Doors/Windows: Mainly hard wood is used for the doors and windows. In some cases, steel and aluminum have also been used. Ordinary glass is used in openings and skylights.Using coloured glass or waste glass bottles in some features of the space adds a sense of play into the space.

Floors: Terracotta, Attangudi tiles,Kota and Cuddapah stones and wood floors are employed. Also used are ceramic and vitrified tiles where ever needed.

Paint: Water bound distemper which is a lime-based paint scores over emulsion or any other “plastic” finish.Mix of oils like cashew shell oil and linseed oil are used for the external doors and windows. The finish protects the wood and allows it to breathe and retains its natural look.

 

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