Tamil Nadu architect Rajiv Kumarvel has built an eco-friendly mud home that remains naturally cool even in the summer, and saves thousands of litres of water.
When architect Rajiv Kumarvel built an eco-friendly house in Denkanikottai for himself, it was meant to be just a weekend getaway spot. He would stay here for a few days with his family during the holidays, and then travel back to his workplace in Hosur.
But the comfort that this holiday home had to offer compelled him to move here permanently. Rajiv’s interest in leading a sustainable life and bringing up his daughter while being close to nature also influenced the decision.
Rajiv, who has been running a firm called The Monarch Architects with his friend Vinod since 2014, mostly builds eco-friendly houses. He says that it was after marriage that he felt the importance of owning a space away from all the hustle and bustle of a city.
“I had always wanted to lead a simple life. After marriage, my wife also shared a similar interest which resulted in building this house,” says the architect.
Rajiv completed his education from Hosur and lived in Bengaluru for a while as part of his work. All through this time, he also took care of injured dogs from the streets. He felt that by moving to the village, he would be able to provide a better living condition for them as well. “Today, there are about 27 dogs living in my house. I am sure this wouldn’t have worked if we had remained in the city,” he adds.
Putting sustainability first
Rajiv says he and Vinod started the construction six years ago with minimal use of cement and no plaster or paint. “The use of cement has been reduced by 50 per cent,” says the architect. The walls are made of mud bricks which ensure the interiors are always cool. A criss-cross ventilation pattern is employed in the house, which results in more air circulation inside. “The roofs are placed at a height greater than usual, and there is absolutely no need for a fan here,” he adds.
Rajiv shares that while constructing a house, accounting for the direction of wind and sun is very important. The house should be positioned in such a way that light and air enter abundantly. This will also contribute in keeping the interiors comfortable.
Denkanikottai receives a good amount of annual rainfall. To make use of it, Rajiv has installed two tanks with a capacity of 10,000 litres and 21 litres respectively. The first one collects rain water and the filtered water from it passes to the second tank for drinking as well as cooking. There is also a greywater harvester and the water from it is utilised for cleaning and farming.
The house is surrounded by a vast kitchen garden which is taken care of by the family together. They only consume the vegetables and fruits from the garden.
Even during the scorching summer heat in March, Rajiv and family comfortably live in the cool atmosphere of the house. They have been living here permanently, a year after completing the construction.
“My major aim was to give a pollution-free environment to my four-year-old daughter. We are glad that she feels connected to nature and every living organism in it,” concludes Rajiv.
Read this story in Hindi here.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)