Eco-friendly Laurie Baker Houses

Day 5 (E) ~ #BlogchatterA2Z challenge

All art work is copyrighted by Lonely Canopy.

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Bricks to me are like faces. All of them are made of burnt mud, but they vary slightly in shape and colour. I think these small variations give tremendous character to a wall made of thousands of bricks, so I never dream of covering such a unique and characterful creation with plaster, which is mainly dull and characterless. I like the contrast of textures of brick, of stone, of concrete, of wood. -Laurie Baker

If houses had flavors, Baker houses and buildings would be honey and cinnamon. His brick houses come in a variety of shapes, with spiral staircases, open roofs, circular rooms, gabled roofs and many other innovations that make his work unique and memorable.

 

My cousin’s wife grew up in a Laurie Baker style house in Trivandrum. Many, many years ago we passed through the town and were invited to her house for lunch. I still remember the magical house … one very suitable to get lost in. That was the first time I heard of Laurie Baker style houses.

Over the years, I’ve always made it a point to visit homes and buildings designed by him, whenever possible.

“Laurie Baker was also an accomplished cartoonist, artist and innovative designer. He has been at various times of his life an anesthetist, a nurse, a missionary and an architect. He served in the Second World War in the Friends Ambulance Unit and lived for four years in isolation in remote China taking care of lepers. After a meeting with Gandhiji he was convinced to come to India, initially as the chief architect of the Mission to Lepers building leper homes throughout India. He has since lived in Pithoragarh in the foothills of the Himalayas building hospitals and schools and in the tribal areas of Vagamon in Kerala before finally settling down in the city of Trivandrum.”  – From http://lauriebaker.net.

Unassuming, full of stories, passionate about service … these are some of the common threads when I read about him. At a time when the emerging Indian upper class was looking to the West for modern architecture, he was a sane voice that reminded them to value what they had.

Baker’s philosophy – that we must build homes and public buildings suitable to local climate with indigenous tools  and materials – makes so much sense.

My observation is that vernacular architecture almost always has good answers to all our problems. In every district, wherever you go, the people themselves take an active part in making their houses. Now, for whatever reasons, they have lost their skills, and need to look outside for help. – Laurie Baker

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“The Hamlet” Laurie Baker’s home in Trivandrum. What started as a small hut on a barren, sloping and rocky hillside is now a magical house amidst dense forests.

 

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9 thoughts on “Eco-friendly Laurie Baker Houses

    1. I’ve seen photographs of the chapel but never been there. I love the Indian Coffee House in Trivandrum 🙂 … One of my fav. travel destinations is Kerala – love the greenery and the architecture 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie Baker’s philosophies and perspectives are truly interesting. Let me know what you think of the buildings when you see them 🙂

      Like

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