As a testimonial to the many masterpieces of Ar. Laurie Baker, whose work is considered nothing less than ‘iconic’ in Trivandrum, an urban and crowded city located in Kerala, India, Wallmakers’ Studio introduced the Rat trap bond masonry technique, as the site itself did not offer an opportunity for soil excavation or producing mud blocks.
The rat trap bond being a masonry construction method in which bricks are placed vertically rather than conventionally horizontal. This method of construction used allows for a higher level of thermal efficiency, cuts down on the volume of brick to be used, and is the perfect solution to conceal structural members and service ducts.
The construction method used allowed for a further possibility of walls being developed to dance and slant from left to right, only converging to provide support for the ferrocement shell. The undulating wall forms are then tailored to solve the issues of space deficiency and provide a feeling of privacy. These undulating walls provide for an inward-facing house whose spaces funnel to the central courtyard. The house is aligned to facilitate passive cooling strategies as cross-ventilation.
The use of such materials is put forward with the knowledge that the Bricks of Trivandrum is a dying industry, to promote traditional and local agriculture-based industries on the brink of extinction. The design features the “Last of the Mohicans” fired bricks as a tribute to the amazing work by Laurie Baker. Creating beautiful spaces is achieved in the new construction by modification of his language, and with pure geometry as the medium, dynamic, and tectonic walls and patterns are brought about that often feel alive, and ‘pirouetting around’.
The pirouette house is a fascinating design that redefines homes in India, with it not missing ‘traditional & vernacular’ sense by the use of indigenous materials, but also not being designed with limitations, and rather providing a more contemporary approach for residential designs.
- Hana Abdel, Pirouette House /Wallmakers, ArchDaily, https://www.archdaily.com/948757/pirouette-house-wallmakers Accessed 9 October 2020
- Wallmakers, https://www.wallmakers.org/pirouette-house-trivandrum Accessed 9 October 2020