Made in EARTH

ಮೇಡ್ ಇನ್ ಅರ್ಥ್ | sustainable architecture & building practices

4. TECHNIQUES - Natural Paints -

A choreography of natural materials for the interiors of Aditi Organics Office in Bangalore, India

The site was a 3000 sft empty shell on the first floor of another concrete building in Bangalore city. Walled on three sides, with structural glazing to the west, it overlooks the beautiful canopies of Gulmohar trees together with the mighty ramp of a concrete flyover in the distance. This is a typical illustration of Bangalore’s predicament; striving to be the IT hub while trying to retain its identity as the garden city of India.

The team members at Aditi were enthusiastic about creating a space that reflects who they are. A company whose work is to certify organic agricultural produce in the country, knew that they wanted their office to be a bold and vibrant environment created out of natural materials. That was our design brief.

With a demanding timeline of two months and a challenging budget, what began was an exercise in choreography to waltz in all the materials we love and all the teams on site to complete the project.

While catering to the comfort of the everyday user, we wanted to provide the occasional visitor with an experience; be it the corporate who walks in for a meeting, or a farmer who brings in samples of his soil and produce for certification. An experience of an architecture and a materiality which is closer to nature while responding to today’s aspiration of modernity, aesthetics and comfort.

Within the interior space, we needed partition walls together with plenty of storage and seating, it had to be something easy to implement, considering the short time at hand. We needed a module!

The ubiquitous slotted angle came to our rescue. With great flexibility, 3×3 feet frames have been used to create a rhythm with multiple functions.

The dance could start; a partition wall became a cabinet for storage, a shelf has turned into a bench, a window or a blackboard. These modules have then been filled with plastered panels, rendered in clay or lime, bolted onto them. Pine wood boards, glass, and even exposed fired bricks have been used in some areas, adding to the chorus.

Work desks were handcrafted in solid pine wood. The remaining walls were finished with natural clay and pigmented lime plaster.

Finally, a seamless silver grey oxide floor completes the act, wrapping around inbuilt seating and furniture as well.

As much as team Aditi by its activity, questions the world of agricultural practices, we hope that its office questions the world of interior design. There is no air-conditioning, neither wooden laminates, plastics, resin nor chemical wood treatment in this project.

 

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“It is a different energy to have a challenge and to sweat towards it all together.”

In the month of September 2014, we worked on an exciting project in the South of France, together with 10 architects from across Europe and the association Touraterre.

(Friends from Touraterre started their association with a journey: a travel from Austria to Auroville, India. 12, 000 Km by train and bus, through Turkey, Iran, India, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Poland.  Their goal was to visit, draw, discover and document construction projects along the road. They also visited institutions where ecological building techniques are being discussed, used and taught. Through Touraterre, they now promote the use of raw earth construction for contemporary architecture. Learn more about their adventures on their website here)

Together with a local organization “H.A.S” that supports homeless people in the main cities of France, their current project is to rehabilitate the TRI, Mail Sorting Centre of the French Postal Services in the city of Avignon. It is a huge industrial building from the 1900s located in the centre of the city, adjacent to the main train station. It has been abandoned for the last 15 years. The rehabilitation project is to convert it into an active social and cultural centre for Avignon, along with renowned French architect, Patrick Bouchain.

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[Corridors of the Sorting Centre]

To kick-start the transformation process, Touraterre and H.A.S this year, invited architects to design and build a ‘cabane de chantier‘, a custom designed temporary cabin on site to enable the organization of meetings, gatherings, etc. Architects and students from across Europe joined the team to live together, cook together, eat together, design together and build together, all within a period of one month! At the end of the month, the city of Avignon was invited for a grand inauguration of the new structure and presentation of the overall vision for the site.

The cabin was to be designed to occupy 20 square metres within the compound walls of the sorting centre. Building techniques with raw earth, straw and recycled wood were to be used.

Here are some sketches of the site. An old caravan had found its final resting place inside the compound. Shipping containers, remodeled as temporary shelters were put up inside to house the homeless people; a factor important during both design and construction.
“We are in their home”

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“What we are interested in is not only what earth architecture can be, but what our process is and what it brings to the people.” Here are some images of Life at the TRI during the first week.

04-IMG_4971[Working on the design in the main building of the sorting centre]

06-IMG_4986[Lunches and dinners together in the courtyard]

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[Open kitchens]

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[Straw from a farm nearby, ready to be used for construction]

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What was the design process like? Know more here.

Visit Touraterre website here
Photo credits : Lorraine Bonduelle


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