Not too far from Mumbai lies the small city of Wada. On the outskirts lies this 2,500 square feet farmhouse, where the architectural design was created to suit the climatic conditions of the local environment. The fascinating brick façade of the house is harmoniously integrated into the the natural environment. Designed by iStudio Architecture, the architects were inspired by the creations of architects Laurie Baker and Nari Gandhi. Laurie Baker is an English architect who has become known for his cost effective and energy efficient construction. To build a structure with the lowest financial cost, with the finished product still being of the highest possible quality, were trademarks of his work. Thanks to these forward looking ideas and implementations, the designers of this project looked to Laurie Baker for inspiration. Nari Gandi was an Indian architect who became famous for his structures built from organic materials. For this, iStudio Architecture also looked to him for inspiration. The finished product is the home we want to feature for you today, so come with us on a guided tour of this rural delight.
As the 'Brick house' name suggests, bricks and tiles are the defining elements of the building. Not only is the look of the external façade exceptional, the particular arrangement of the bricks is unique. When the building was erected, the 'rat-trap bond' building technique was applied. This interesting way of brick home construction includes laying the bricks on edge, forming the inner and outer face of the wall, with cross bricks bridging the two faces. The main advantages of rat trap bonds include a reduction in the number of bricks and mortar required, compared to traditional brick laying techniques such as English or Flemish bonds, due to the cavity formed in the wall. The cavity created also makes the structure more thermally efficient. The gaps created also allow for electrical cables and the pipework of the home to be hidden in the brick walls, doing away with the need for additional work such as plastering.
Viewing the interior, we can see that there has been no attempt to hide the brickwork. The combination of exposed brick, stone walls and wooden roof, gives the entire space natural charm. The ground level is where the kitchen and living room are located. In order to use the space as efficiently as possible, the architects chose to use built-in furniture. Tucked away up the back is the kitchen, with its aqua coloured floor.
The idea of the design was aimed at blending all rooms together. From the open plan ground floor, we are invited up the stairs to the second level. This image shows perfectly how the structure of the building was developed to organically blend in with its surrounds. Due to the organic form, we are always offered unusual perspectives of the interior and the surrounding nature.
Moving up the stairs to the second floor, we are greeted with the terrace, which offers views into the distance, through the gaps between the brickwork. Here, we see steel employed to hold up the roof of the structure, offering strength in adverse weather conditions. The pillars have been constructed in an artful arrangement, catching our eye while staying completely structurally sound. Upon beginning building, bricks were bought in from Gujarat, until local materials could be sourced. Through the use of local materials and smart, efficient design, the home could be built at the lowest possible cost.
The perforation in the brickwork as seen here is called 'Jali'. Incorporating this into the design allows for natural light and airflow to circulate the room. In addition to its practicality, the brick jali design also allow for sunlight to cast ever shifting shadows across the room, adding a special visual effect to the ground floor. Laurie baker, one of the architects the designers of this home looked to for inspiration, was knows to use this wall design frequently. The overall climate of the interior is cooled by the gaps in the brickwork.
That concludes our tour of this rural home in Wada, and we hope you like its quirky and curious design as much as we did.