A lightweight structure, cool and soothing interiors, intelligent plan… many things constitute this cost effective and innovative house in Kollam. This house belongs to Biju Nettara, an artist, and the credit for the making of this house goes to A S Dili, the architect. Dili believes that one need not build a home for generations to come; the next generation will build a home of their own tastes. Biju and his family agreed to this concept and welcomed it wholeheartedly when they decided to build their dream home.
Less weight means less cost
Building cost of a home can be considerably cut down by reducing the thickness of roof and walls. In the case of Biju’s house, the plot was not very solid. But, as the structural weight of the house was low, it was not necessary to squander money for reinforcing the foundation. The construction of the house was completed at a rate of Rs. 1000 per square feet. Truss like metallic structure was used for roofing, and thinner bricks were used for the walls in order to cut down the cost.
The roofed area seen in front of the house, which is open on all four sides, is the sit out and reception of this house. Here, galvanized pillars were erected and were topped with truss work; tiles were paved on the truss. Old tiles were purchased for roofing. A part of this area is set apart for the car porch. Thanks to this idea, the owner could save enough money to build the walls and mold the roof. Application of oxide for flooring was another means for cost reduction. A small bridge passing through the courtyards on both sides connects this reception to the main building.
The main door of the house actually opens to the dining room. From here, you can go to the kitchen or the bedroom. In the ground floor, you have the main bedroom. The large room is divided into two portions by a bathroom that comes in between. The larger portion is the main bedroom, while the smaller portion is designed as a bedroom for kids. The staircase starts from the dining room. The lightweight staircase is made of steel frame on which coconut tree planks are paved. This kind of staircase is cost effective too.
Walls on the ground floor are made of six-inch thick cement blocks, whereas four-inch thick concrete hollow blocks are used for the walls on the upper storey. This helped them to bring down cost and weight. The rooms on the first floor were built by setting the frame of the roof on metallic pillars. Concrete hollow bricks were fixed between these pillars. It is another form of column – beam structure.
Since the walls were thinner, molding of lintel was not necessary. Lintels were made of preset ferro cement slabs. These slabs were 4 inches wide and 48 inches long. Each lintel consists of three such slabs. Ten feet tall walls were topped with gypsum false ceiling. Ten-inch thick cement boards were paved on the metallic frame of the roof. Roof shingles were glued on the boards to enhance beauty. The first floor comprises a family living room, two bedrooms, and a utility area.
No room for heat
The vacant, airy space between the gypsum board and cement board plays the key role in maintaining a cool and soothing atmosphere inside the house. The glass wool heat insulation installed on the false ceiling also brings the heat down. The doors and windows are designed for perfect airflow. Window are given metallic frames, while all the doors inside are readymade. Oxide flooring also lessened the cost.
Thanks to the simplicity of the design and building materials, it is easy to maintain the house, say Biju and his wife Manjula, a public prosecutor. The soothing atmosphere inside the home makes life a delightful experience.