The morning after Cyclone Amphan tore through the southern part of West Bengal, a curious crowd lined up in front of Linus Kendall and Rupsa Nath’s house in Baruipur.
Much to the surprise of their neighbours, the house built with mud and bamboo had sustained minimal damage in the devastating storm.
Fondly christened ‘Kancha-Paka’ (Raw and Ripe), the Swedish-Bengali couple’s beautiful home was designed by sustainable architect Laurent Fournier.
Constructed on an area of 1,800 sq ft, the architect planned to build the two-and-a-half-storey house 10 feet off the ground since the area is prone to flooding.
The ground floor of the house constitutes the RCC framework, while the top floor comprises an internal mud-supported bamboo frame.
“We used ropes to join the bamboo frame. We neither used iron nor steel to weld them together. Plastered with mud, the bamboo-mud walls help maintain a fairly constant temperature inside the house,” shares Laurent.
The thick thatched roof is another curious feature of the house which can last more than 10 years, withstanding rain, storms and summer heat.
For painting the exterior of the house, they have used a simple lime wash, which allows air to travel in and out of the house, which helps regulate the humidity indoors.
“We also have a solar power set-up. From around 8 am to 6 pm, the house can run fully on solar power, including the operation of high-power appliances like the water pump,” informs Linus.
Another characteristic of the ‘Kancha-Paka’ house is that it is earthquake-proof. With strong beams made of locally procured materials that support the pillars, the house can withstand major tremors.
Linus charts the total expense of the house at around Rs 50 lakh. Most of the money was spent on labour and the material cost was quite minimal.
“We would not claim to be paragons of sustainability, but what we are trying to do is to value our environmental resources as much as possible and lead a more sustainable life with each passing day,” Linus says.