Sustainability drives our design and choice of materials.
We use a combination of the modern and the traditional in our materials, techniques and details, creating a unique aesthetic that has a global flavour while being decidedly Indian.
We integrate traditional crafts into our designs for their inherent value
- Rain water harvesting and ground water recharge
- Water recycling
- Non Chemical Sewage treatment
- Green Construction practices
- Integrating craft into the design
- Waste management
- Biodiversity and use of indigenous species in landscape
The materials we use…
Minimal processing, renewability, the practical aspects of durability and maintenance, cost and availability, all form the matrix of values, through which a particular material is decided upon. The decision is collectively made, involving all stakeholders in the process.
At Malhar, the material palette has been arrived at after a lot of research, experiment and discussion. From the mud blocks which were arrived at after various mixes, sizes and tests, to the language of the stone wall, which went through many trials and styles before a broad style was accepted.
Compressed Stabilised Mud Blocks
The most amazing thing about building with stabilized mud blocks is the awareness that the building is built from the very earth that it is sited on. Almost as if, it has grown out of the earth. A modern technology, applied on the age-old technique of making mud-bricks manually, using organic stabilizers. The compressed stabilized earth block is made with the help of a machine, and uses cement or its equivalent as a stabilizer. Scientifically developed, to be strong and durable, it can be used in load bearing construction, and has been proven to be long lasting.
Stone is used in many forms to balance the earthy stabilised mud block. A composite wall using the local stone and the mud block, forms the base of many of the buildings. This protects the mud block from back splashing water, and gives a more horizontal aesthetic to the space. Used for courtyard walls with playful openings, it stands out as an element in the development. Vertical “chapdi” stone slabs have been used for fencing, as paving.
The very rustic sandstone “cuddapah” has been used extensively in the paving and for steps. This is a non-slip and easy to maintain stone.
At Malhar, wood is more than just an aesthetic source and is seen as a sustainable resource. To promote its use as a renewable resource, we intend to plant timber species within the community. A warm, intimate material, it replaces high energy consuming steel and aluminium for doors and windows and can be used even for floors.
Building with timber, is an art, and needs a lot of rigor, to understand the material, its strength and how it responds to climate. A living material, it can be limitless in its expression, and inspires awe, when used appropriately.
The water at Malhar…
Rainwater harvesting and recycling: Harvesting rainwater at Malhar is an important activity. Water from the roofs is collected through a network of pipes which are then filtered to the main water tank.With intermittent rains in Bangalore, this reduces the load on the bore wells substantially. The excess roof water and the ground water are percolated to the land through a series of percolation channels and pits. A reduction in the percentage of impermeable surfaces in the landscape also helps.
Water recycling: An on-campus sewage treatment plant recycles all waste water. The waste water from the kitchens and bathrooms is collected and treated with a series of bio-filters to emerge clean. This water is then used for gardening and for toilet flushing. This has brought down the overall consumption of water by 30%
Water Conservation: We encourage our members to imbibe a spirit of water conservation, by consuming less. Large consumption of water takes place in activities like car washing, washing instead of mopping of floors, leaking faucets. Water meters are installed to monitor and control consumption. Water conserving sanitary and tap fittings are also used.
Design for energy efficiency
Design for Natural light and ventilation: All the homes have been designed with adequate natural light and cross ventilation. Large windows, wide verandahs, air channels for circulation, and thermally conducive materials, are all features which reduce the necessity for artificial light and ventilation.
Design for Solar Energy: Provisions for connecting solar water heaters and photo-voltaic panels for power will be made on the roof.
Energy efficient Lighting: We have used, wherever possible, say for instance in common areas and streets, low wattage heating elements like CFL and LED lighting systems to ensure prudent use of power.
Ecology of the Landscape
Waste Management: It is our firm belief that waste segregation is the responsibility of the individual. Of the segregated waste, the bio degradable must be handled at the house level, in the backyard, or using one of the innovative waste management equipment available today.
The recyclable waste can be initiated at community level, where waste can be given to one of the many agencies involved in recycling.
The non recyclable, must be reduced and either the community creates its own land fill, or uses the corporation.
Integrating ecology with the landscape: Creating an environment for the land to rejuvenate becomes an important aspect of planning, especially for the psychological and cultural values they impart.
The environment at Malhar will be more interactive and engaging, and encourage people to forge a relationship with nature.
The homes will be surrounded by a veritable encyclopedia of plants and trees that are local and indigenous and have medicinal values. Relive the nostalgia of childhood as children discover insects and birds, climb trees and create imaginative worlds in the nooks and corners of Malhar.
Craft: Traditional crafts like carpentry, stonework and masonry are slowly dying out as they cannot adapt to newer material, technology and requirement. But the value they impart to a space, however, cannot be overlooked.
We make a conscious effort to integrate these crafts and their skilled craftspersons in the building process.