Dr. Dili A. S., architect and professor in the department of architecture at TKM College of Engineering, Kerala, designed a cost-effective house in keeping with the hot tropical climate and the monsoons of Kerala. He explains his concept that takes a different view on the theory of minimalism as applied on the function, material and visual aspects of the structure.
An independent double storeyed house for a family comprising living, dining, kitchen and three bedrooms with attached toilets also required well designed spaces for a car porch, out, prayer room with ablution area, store, work area and a utility space. The site 10.36m x 39m was around three meter lower from the road level with adjacent buildings on North and East side, five meter road on the West and 120m wide pathway along with rubber plantation on the South side of the plot.
Since the site was lower from the road level on the West, a connecting bridge was designed between the road and the house as passage leading to the car porch with a sit out area and the main entrance that opens into the living room. This level also contains the prayer room and one of the bedrooms with balcony. A stair (ladder) from the balcony leads to the attic space above. The lower ground floor consists of the dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, store and work area. A special entry is provided to the dining room from the pathway on the South side through a wicket gate.
Conventionally, minimalism is applied in architecture giving emphasis only on visual aspects and external minimal form of the building, ignoring, its effective function and other aspects. Frequently, in an attempt to design minimal external form, the internal system of the structure becomes complex or gets adversely affected. A sustainable way of minimalist architecture is applied in this building with the following considerations.
• Minimal cost
• Optimum material usage
• Nominal weathering of the building
• Least maintenance
• Marginal energy usage
Realizing that high interior thermal discomfort is the main reason of employing “active” cooling systems that consume precious energy and raise the cost of living, an additional sloping roof with a light weight system is created above the concrete roof to protect the house from sun and rain. The attic space created between the roofs acts as a passive control system and a utility space. Moreover, the light weight roofing system covers the whole building like an umbrella and acts as a protective element for the building from external environment. This makes the building weathering free throughout.
Top Roof –
• 12mm thick cement board fixed on the above truss work using SD (self-driven) screws
• 4mm thick algae resistant shingles fixed (nailed) on the cement board
• Gypsum board false ceiling is provided for the car porch, passage and sit out
Bottom roof – RCC slab (excluding car porch, passage, sit out and balcony)
Wall plastering – with river sand cement mortar, Belt concrete (6” thick) above lintel level with 8mm steel rods (4nos) using 6mm stirrups
Windows – anjili and jack wood
Window Glass – 4mm glass fixed on window shutter frame using 10mm sq. reapers
Doors – anjili and jack wood
Wall finish – emulsion paint
Stair Case – tubular and angular steel frame work with coconut timber treads
Interior flooring – vitrified tiles
Car porch Flooring – cement mortar finish