“A building must grow as nature grows from inside out” – a concept that is still unfamiliar territory to many of us. Organic architecture offers a design that endures the test of time and is a much better way to practice sustainable architecture.
Organic architecture is more intrinsic by nature. It is based on an idea derived from a holistic approach. It echoes the philosophy of evolving in response to context and interaction with surroundings. In organic architecture “NATURE” becomes the prime attribute. The nature of a site, of topography, of climate, of the material used, the nature of intention and the nature of human beings – all inspire its built-form.
On a more philosophical level, organic architecture is a form of objective art – it interacts with and reflects the state of mind of the people in and around it. So whatever people see, in some deep sense, they become like it. In that regard, a beautiful building can make people feel joy and beauty within, just as the presence of an ugly building can make people feel uncomfortable, unbalanced.
Thus, with its focus on oneness with nature, Objective Organic Architecture helps people become centered, healthy and whole.
Below are some projects that reflect my 15-year practice in Organic Architecture.
Beginning with this idea of refuge, the project’s use of indigenous materials and spaces, open to the exterior, creates a sensitive relationship between dwelling and environment. Working with local craftsmen on site, I made decisions as the building took shape, responding to the setting and the vegetation. Finished drawings to document the process were undertaken only after the work had been completed.
Nature is allowed in through the circular openings that punctuate the load-bearing brick structure. Local materials and techniques were used in the construction of the house. The foundation is of fine-grained black basalt and the brick comes from local manufacturers.
Total area: 4776 sqft
Approximate cost of project: $15,000
Approximate cost of construction: $3 /sqft
The house was designed to revolve around the existing group of Palmyra palm acting as a focal point and showing its back towards south -west side protecting the structure, the balconies and the deck area around the pool from heavy monsoon thrust and harsh afternoon sunrays, thus establishing a relation between the built fabric and the topography of the site.
The structure is hidden by the existing surrounding trees which makes visitors entering the site clueless and curious about it. As the visitor approaches nearer, they just see the side of one dwelling unit and within a fraction of a second, they are exposed to the whole gigantic wild scale of the wild echo. This in itself is a wild experience. It suggests echo in the form of repetition of form, in the reflection of the form down the pool and in casting shadows on to the deck…It is an echo heard visually.
Total area: 14,430 sqft
Approximate cost of project: $125,000
Approximate cost of construction: $8.6 /sqft
The architecture of the site – heavy steep slope facing distantly visible wide stretch of paddy fields, its flora & fauna, a panoramic view of the sunrise till sunset, the sound of flowing river below, singing of birds and the sudden silence… was like a Beethoven symphony “Moonlight”. And this topography of the site has inspired the design of the house. “Moonlight” farmhouse is like frozen Beethoven symphony, something growing out of site and enhancing the grace of surrounding nature – without having defined lines of front, rear or side. The architecture of Moonlight has neither a beginning nor an end. The outside and inside merge seamlessly; the architecture of the site and that of the structure becomes one.
The house responds bucolically to the climatic conditions as strategically placed huge openings cater to the fast air change. The huge scale of spaces creates air mass and consequently acts as a thermal insulation. Concrete shell roof over mezzanine floor cantilevers more than six meters (20ft) on either side to provide ample shade on the veranda, shielding the home from severe monsoon rains and hot afternoon sun rays.
Total area: 14,863 sqft
Approximate cost of project: $470,000
Approximate cost of construction: $31.6 /sqft