This Indian couple uses unconventional, eco-friendly techniques to build cement-free homes that don’t need air conditioners
Dhruvang Hingmire and Priyanka Gunjikar are architects, but with an interesting twist. This Pune-based couple uses eco-friendly and sustainable techniques to build homes with their own hands using natural materials and employing only local labor.
To get an idea of how they work, let us take the example of their recent project at a private retreat in Thoran village near Kamshet, a town between Mumbai and Pune. Located near a forest on a hill slope, the couple first did a recce of the area to gauge what materials were available.
“We found a lot of black stone that locals used to construct their homes. However, we found that stone wasn’t used above seven feet of the structure because lifting it is hard. Besides, bricks were being used because the soil there is very good,” says Dhruvang.
To bind these bricks, however, they didn’t use any cement but went for mud mortar. For the ground floor, they employed stone masonry. After seven feet, the local laborers used bricks, binding them with mud sourced from the site.
Besides the two floors, there was a small attic on top, built from mud, bricks and wood. The roof was made from local timber instead of the conventional teak.
“When you use teak as a building material, you are promoting a form of mono-culture. Today, we see many forest department officials and local agriculturalists setting up teak plantations that harm the local ecosystem. Instead of one, we use different types of timber sourced locally. On top, we went for clay roofing tiles,” he says.
Since their client wanted a low-maintenance home, the couple used lime plaster to bind the floor tiles. This took care of maintenance since traditional lime plaster is often chosen as a good candidate for restoration. It strengthens with age, as opposed to cement plaster which develops cracks and lime also helps trap the heat during the summer and release it during winter.
Read more about their amazing work here: https://www.thebetterindia.com/176399/pune-couple-sustainable-homes-natural-cooling-india/