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The Green Beacon

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Inspiration, a Kochi-based architectural firm headed by Jaigopal Rao and Latha Raman Jaigopal is described as a community of architects, engineers, interior designers and craftsmen who aspire to create sensitively designed living environs.

Inspiration specializes in developing greener strategies for projects ranging from homes, office and resorts across urban and rural India using alternate technologies, techniques and materials. With over 20 years of experience in the field of ecology and economy sensitive designs and constructions, the firm today enjoys a niche clientele in the field – ranging from individuals, business houses / corporates, Government departments and NGOs – who aspire for sensitively designed habitat and environs.

Jaigopal, influenced by the works and writing of Frank Lloyd Wright, consciously chose to base his architecture and aesthetics on the ecological, social, cultural and economic reality of India. His architecture is based on his understanding of the need for design on ground realities and complexities offered by the Indian subcontinent. Meanwhile, director of project implementation Latha Raman Jaigopal directs field level execution of the firm’s various projects across the sub-continent. With a passion for energy efficiency and water conservation in the built environment, Latha has been instrumental in co-ordinating and detailing concepts of total water management, decentralised solid and liquid waste management and relevant renewable energy applications.

Inspiration has been on a continuous search through actual field practices to evolve design concepts, packages of design details, technology applications and approaches to aesthetics, so as to evolve a truly contemporary Indian architecture and construction language. With its experience in the field of nature – friendly designs and construction, Inspiration today enjoys a niche clientèle – individuals, corporations, government departments and NGOs.

Laurie Baker has been a stimulus and his techniques and teachings helps the team at Inspiration on their quest to perfect techniques that use natural materials such as bamboo in sustainable buildings.

Tile, thatch and grass roof
Tile, thatch and grass roof

Office of Inspiration

The firm’s own office building is one of the finest examples. Inspiration’s 2,750sqft office in Kochi has bamboo used in the floor slabs, walls & roofs, and alongside large glass panes that provides a contemporary look. Bamboo is used in combination with more conventional materials such as reinforced cement concrete (RCC) for columns, ferro-cement beams and a limited quantity of reinforced plaster, making it an easily replicable model. Bamboo absorbs large quantities of carbon dioxide and bamboo plantations ease the pressure on environment as against conventional materials such as steel and cement, which involve large quantities of energy for production.

Jaigopal and Latha are strong believers in using natural materials and they have experimented with locally available sustainable materials. Many of the structures combine stone, brick, mud, timber, laterite, etc, and feature large rain-harvesting reservoirs, waste-water treatment systems, solar and bio-mass energy systems, etc.

Here, the duo talks about their beliefs, factors that motivate them, the architects who have inspired them and their thoughts on the future of Indian architecture.

Thus regional self-sufficiency as far as possible should perhaps become the new and perhaps the only ‘mantra’ for green sustainable architecture and a green sustainable lifestyle.
– Jaigopal Rao

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