KOCHI: Towering at four stories high, the Library-cum-Research Centre of Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies (LBC) at Vilappilsala is a beacon of sustainable architecture. Oozing an other- worldy charm, it blends with all of nature’s elements.
Years ago, the foundation for the structure was laid by legendary architect Laurie Baker himself. However, the construction began only recently and the structure stands as an ode to the vision of Bake – a sustainable architectural model which uses bamboo as the central predominant construction material.
“The base was already built by Baker. So we decided not to disturb it and superimposed our idea on Baker’s building. The structure has been constructed such a way that it least distrubs the site,” says Padmakumar R D, architect, Centre for Science and Technology for Rural Development (COSTFORD).
The structure has been built by COSTFORD using the MP fund of T N Seema.
With a total area of 2200 sq ft, the four-storyed building serves as a library and documentation centre. Bamboo has been used for the facade, roofing, walls and also in the seating area of the building. Most of the rooms have bay windows, crafted out of bamboo. Treated bamboo has been used for construction. Apart from the library and documentation area, the building also has two rooms.
The building is a reinforced concrete-framed structure, which incorporates eco-friendly elements such as mud, coir and bamboo. The building adheres to the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. The doors and windows in the building have been reused from abandoned construction sites. The use of discarded glass bottles and glass waste in the building’s decor adds to its uniqueness.
The walls are made from a mix using mud and coir, while bricks are also used sparingly. The roofing above the staircase area of the building uses filler slab made of coconut shells , another attempt at reusing refuse.
The flooring has been done using red oxide. “Bamboo is an exceptional construction material. It grows fast and is a resource which will be available in plenty. Bamboo as a construction material is sustainable considering the ecological, economic and social aspect,”adds Padmakumar.