One of the most promising architects who practiced Vernacular Architecture was Laurie Baker. He used laterite, mud, and cow dung as the building materials in his buildings. Architecture firms practicing the same are mentioned below. 

Vernacular Architecture could also be called the traditional architecture of a place. Vernacular Architecture is a style of architecture that depends on the local needs, availability of materials in the area and also reflects upon cultures and traditions of the area, thus known as traditional architecture. Climatic conditions are also taken care of while designing the built of the same.

India is a country with diversity in climatic conditions as well. Due to the varied climatic conditions across the country, Bamboo of different types and mud is available locally. Mud is used for construction as it provides a comfortable environment in comparison to the harsh climate. Bamboo on the other hand acts as a structural material and can also be used as a material providing light and ventilation inside the built. 

One of the most promising architects who practiced Vernacular Architecture was Laurie Baker. He used laterite, mud, and cow dung as the building materials in his buildings. Architecture firms practicing the same are mentioned below. 

1. Kamath Design Studios, New Delhi    

The design studio is based in New Delhi. The team of architects and designers design spaces that use mud in various ways possible. The studio also focused on the purpose of the space and the place where the space has to be constructed. 

Desert resort in Mandawa is one of the examples of the projects by the studio. The location of the building is in Rajasthan. The climatic conditions of the place are taken care of like the material used in the building is mud and the building also exhibits the local traditions.

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2. Architect Eugene Pandala, Kerala

The architect is based in Kerala. The prime focus of the design is to incorporate vegetation present in the area. The architect also designs spaces that recycle water and also ensures the optimum use of water. The architect plays with the components of sustainable architecture along with the incorporation of the surroundings of the space. 

Owiyum is an example of vernacular architecture buildings by Eugene Pandala. Situated in Marayoor the building is made up of stone and mud. The roof is made up of locally available timber and thatched palm leaves. The flooring is made of handmade clay tiles and the bed is crafted with mud and honey-bee wax. 

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3. Dustudio, Auroville, Puducherry  

 Dustudio is a design studio which is based in Auroville, Pondicherry. Auroville is a township that incorporates sustainable as well as vernacular architecture practices. Mud is a common building material that is used in buildings of the township. In addition to this, the natural bounties are incorporated while designing a space.

4. Biome Environmental Solutions, Bengaluru 

Biome Environmental Solutions are a design firm based in Bengaluru. The design of the building responds to the climate, utilizes natural resources, and also aims at minimizing the waste generated. The designers emphasize the use of timber and mud in the building and also provide energy-saving solutions in the building. In addition to this, the designers also aim at using solar energy, rainwater harvesting, and the principle of recycling and reuse.

Yellow Train School, Coimbatore is a learning space created to explore ecological issues. The classrooms in the basement were not allowed, play spaces were created 1.5 meters below the road level. Passive strategies for ventilation were followed and materials like mud and brick were used.

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5. The Auroma Group, Auroville, Puducherry

The group was founded by Architect Trupti Doshi and the group is based in Auroville, Puducherry. The group aims at using locally available material, which is natural. The group also aims at reviving local craftsmanship and responding to local needs. 

6. Thannal, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 

Thannal is an architecture firm based in Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu owned by the builder Biju Bhaskar. Mud is the building material used by the builder due to the natural cooling properties of the material. Bhaskar uses lime as a binding material instead of cement in the buildings. Materials like sand and steel are not used in the buildings. Plastic wastes are also not used in the building so that the positive environment is maintained. The builder plays with four types of construction techniques that are specific to mud construction.  

Erikarai Cob Home is located in Tiruvannamalai. Made using materials like mud, terracotta, lime, and bamboo, the housing caters to the needs of locals. During heavy rainfall, the stability of housing was doubted. The housing was stable during the same. Things like plinth protection, leak-proof roof, the stability of the walls using lime, proper drainage systems, etc were taken care of.

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7. Architect Benny Kuriakose, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Architect Benny Kuriakose is a follower of Laurie Baker’s ideals and principles. The architect achieves the concept of sustainable architecture by combining vernacular and traditional architectural practices. The designs are climate responsive and also use locally available materials. Elements like courtyards, large windows, double roofs, and open plans are combined with flowing connectivity between interior and exterior spaces.  

Dakshinachitra Heritage Museum is a cross-cultural living museum of art and architecture and performing arts of South India. Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, the museum showcases housing which showcased vernacular housing of the states. 

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8. Made in Earth, Bengaluru

Made in Earth is a design studio that is started by four architects. Made in Earth studio promotes architectural practices that have a lesser impact on our environment. The materials used by the team are locally available and use natural building materials and techniques. The team also caters to the needs of the locals. 

Ochere House is an attempt to create ecological housing in an urban setting. The housing uses natural building materials available in the area. The housing displays needs of the people both culturally and economically.  

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9. Architect Eriksson Furunes, Philippines  

Architect Eriksson Furunes is based in the Philippines and designs buildings in Vietnam, Philippines, China, United Kingdom, and India. The architect aims at designing spaces that are primarily designed for locals. aims at designing spaces in which the locals are no longer the passive receivers of the building but active receivers of the same. 

Xianshui, a community space designed in Hunan province, China. The design of the community center displays the use of materials that are locally available and also caters to the needs of the people who will use the space. 

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10. PKdM Arkitektar, Iceland

Pkdm Arkitecktar is an architecture and design studio which is based in Iceland. The design of spaces is inspired by landscape present in Iceland and the Japanese vernacular architecture. The team designs spaces which incorporate the surroundings. The materials selected are available locally. 

Aborg Houses is a vacation home located in Iceland. The house showcases the use of concrete, timber, and stone. The house displays a sequence of events. The courtyard space is also included in the house.

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11. Basalt Architects, Iceland

Basalt Architects is a group of architects based in Iceland. The design of the spaces incorporates nature in ways and also involves natural ventilation spaces. The designs by Basalt Architects are a mix of sustainable as well as vernacular architecture. 

Hofsos Swimming Pool in Iceland is one of the examples of vernacular architecture in Iceland as the architect designs the Pool on the basis of the traditional architecture of Iceland. Materials like concrete and stone. The design aims at providing a connection between the interior and exterior. The pool is positioned in an axis facing directly towards the island of Drangey. The island has a historical and cultural importance. 

12. EVA studio, London, United Kingdom 

EVA studio is a design studio based in London, United Kingdom. The design solutions provided by them have local traits that develop into patterns and exhibit the culture around the built. The technology and materials are locally available.

Aldeas, a project which is located in Bolivia is a group of 3 buildings. The site includes an amphitheater and a playground. The traditional brick construction was done and also displays the culture and traditions of the area. Building techniques chosen were local to the area.

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13. Alberto Campo Baezar, Spain 

The architect is based in Spain. The architect has a unique take as he combines both manmade and natural elements to his design. 

The House of Infinite is located in Spain. The spaces like the meeting room are designed as per the Greek mythology, the materials utilized are stone.

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14. Hunnarshala Foundation, Bhuj, Gujrat 

Hunnarshala Foundation is a group of architects who have a community-driven approach towards designing. They use materials like clay, timber waste, industrial waste, etc. The aim is to provide new innovative techniques to design vernacular buildings.   

Ray is a housing scheme launched by Hunnarshala Foundation in three slums of Bhuj, Gujrat. The project comes under the category of low cost housing. The houses were based on traditional architecture and ensured ventilation and ample lighting in the houses. Debris Wall construction technology was used in the construction so as to recycle waste and provide a low cost housing. Since waste treatment is an issue in the city there is a dual plumbing facility provided in the housing. This was done to segregate black water and grey water. Grey water will be utilized for irrigation facilities. 

15. Dharmalya – Didi Contractor

Dharmalaya is an NGO based in the Himalayas, India. The Ngo aims at reviving the traditional Indian principles of ahimsa, karuna, Maitri, and seva. Using the principles the NGO also aims at providing eco-friendly methods of construction. Each firm has its own unique take on the Vernacular style of architecture. The firms experiment with the locally available materials and tend to use them in large numbers for an eco-friendly building. 

References :- 

  1. 7 Of The Best Architects In India Practicing Vernacular Designs, 16-07-2020, Available at :- https://www.achahomes.com/7-of-the-best-architects-in-india-practicing-vernacular-designs/
  2. Tanvi Patel, Not Just a Humble Hut: TN Org Shows How Mud Houses Can Be Viable in Cities Too!, 17-07-2020, Available at :- 
    https://www.thebetterindia.com/171951/tamil-nadu-sustainable-house-design-mud-thannal-india/
  3. Benny Kuriakose – striving towards sustainable architecture, 17-07-2020, Available at :- https://architecturelive.in/benny-kuriakose/
  4. Madeinearth.in, 17-07-2020, Available at:- https://madeinearth.in/about/
  5. Ten Indian architects who are harnessing traditional wisdom to build the homes of the future, 17-07-2020, Available at :- https://scroll.in/magazine/845662/ten-indian-architects-who-are-harnessing-traditional-wisdom-to-build-the-homes-of-the-future
  6. Co- Design Architecture, 17-07-2020, Available at:- https://erikssonfurunes.com/Community-Co-design-Architecture
  7. Principles and Practices, Earthville.org Available at :- https://earthville.org/about/principles/
  8. Hunnarshala Curry Stone Foundation. Available at:- https://currystonefoundation.org/practice/hunnarshala/
  9. Urban Slum Redevelopment Project. Available at: 

http://www.hunnarshala.org/urban-slum-redevelopment.html 

  1. Sustainable Architecture in Reykjavik Available at:- https://urbannext.net/sustainable-architecture-in-reykjavik/
  2. PKdM, About us. Available at :- https://pkdm.is/office/page#:~:text=SCOPE%20OF%20WORK,encounters%20with%20vernacular%20Japanese%20architecture.
  3. EVA studio- Our approach. Available at :- http://www.evastudio.co.uk/ourapproach

Image and example references. :- 

https://mandawahotels.wordpress.com

https://sawdust.online

https://www.eugenepandala.com

https://www.archdaily.com

http://thannal.com

https://www.dakshinachitra.net/

https://erikssonfurunes.com

https://madeinearth.in

https://www.evastudio.co.uk

Author

Sahiti is an architecture student in one of the top architecture institutes of the country, Sushant School of Art and Architecture. She is passionate about exploring new design ideas without compromising on the revolutionary changes in the field.

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