A PLUS R ARCHITECTS
Chenthur Raaghav Naagendran
Why is this project special?
Casa Roca is a residence designed on a land parcel in the southwestern region of India, in the western part of Coimbatore. This project focuses on sustainability which seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and optimization in the use of materials and energy. This residence is focused to celebrate the lost vernacular architecture and appreciate the lost craftsmanship from Karaikudi. One other aspect was to reduce carbon footprint by adopting eco-friendly construction.
The facade is a blend of parametric architecture made up of vernacular materials. By taking the advantage of digital technology, a simple element like a brick is used to create a parametric facade. The parapet wall is another unique parametric wall where each brick turns by 13 degrees and creates a kinetic movement resonating with the road.
Tell us something about your project?
The concept of parametric architecture was implemented using bricks after a lot of various research at our studio by researchers over time. The entire facade is made into a grid, each brick extended out by 3mm. It creates a parametric wave that allows the light to create art and the light becomes the protagonist.
The entire façade becomes an exhibit on its own, the facade is a blend of parametric architecture with vernacular materials. A Palette of materials has been chosen specifically to give a subtle and blending environment with nature.
An intriguing play of light is created by the upcycled colored glass bottles when the light falls on them. The artistry of the mason is seen in the fenestration where the glass bottles are arranged in a radial pattern. The fenestration is constructed using wired mesh.
The rat trap bond construction technique helps in conserving energy by providing insulation from heat and cold. It also helps in cost-effective construction as it requires 20 percent fewer bricks and could save 40 to 50 percent of cement and sand used for construction.
It is made more sustainable by using locally available materials such as lime mortar and clay. Clay pots are used as filler for the foundation which is available around the site. The use of exposed brick walls also makes it sustainable as it is recyclable and resistant to threats such as fire and moisture. Brick is also a timeless material that is found common in both ancient and modern buildings.
The foundation is laid with random rubble stone masonry obtained from the site during excavation, which in turn helps to reduce the carbon footprint.
Filler slab is another sustainable construction technique adopted. In this method, the concrete in the bottom half of the RCC slab is replaced by filler material as the concrete in the bottom half is not structurally required. Clay pots were used as the filler material here. The concrete used in +this technology is about 20 percent less than the conventional slab construction. The self-weight of the slab is reduced due to the reduced concrete and 30 percent less steel required, without compromising the strength of the slab.
What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
The project is all about reviving the past and its craftsmanship. Sourcing craftsmen for traditional construction and to source the materials for the same was the biggest challenge.
The main door is an antique Karaikudi door with a majestic look and rigidity. The single shutter door is made out of Burma teak wood sourced from one of the palaces at Karaikudi. This wooden door not only looks elegant and unique but also reflects the old lost Indian craftsmanship.
What is the lesson you learned in this project that you would like to pass on to the next generation of architects?
Reviving the lost craftsmanship and traditional architecture is the heart of cultural sustainability. The next generation of architects should infuse the traditional form of Indian architecture along with the blend of modern architecture to maintain the existence of lost Indian craftsmanship through their designs.