Aravind Manoharan, a civil engineer-turned-architect, has been collaborating with organisations to host such workshops. “A lot of people are showing interest in living close to nature but don’t know how to go about it. At natural building workshops, participants get a chance to explore mud and do their own structure. When they attend the workshops, they will gain the confidence to make building structures. Participants will get an idea about what materials to use and methodologies that can be adopted. Individuals from various professions and backgrounds are participating in our workshops - they get to share innovative ideas about sustainable building practices,” says Aravind Manoharan.
He prefers to use indigenous materials that are sourced within a 5-10 km radius of the house. “That’s how our ancestors built houses and I am following the same method. I use only locally sourced eco-friendly materials to construct a house and such houses are suitable for our climates. We follow a lot of techniques depending on the topography and climate conditions. At the workshops, we are reintroducing the age-old architecture methods and materials to the next generation. Once people learn the traditional architecture methods, they can implement them on their own. I do collaborate with various organisations to conduct workshops. I also guide individuals who are into building sustainable houses,” he shares. Aravind opines that natural building workshops inspire architecture students to follow traditional building practices.
Samyuktha S and Stanzin Phuntsog started Earth Building to construct mud houses using traditional architectural methods. The duo has been conducting workshops on cob and adobe. “Building houses shouldn’t be a challenge for anyone. We are reaching out to people who are interested in building houses using local materials. It is cost-effective and good for our environment. Building a house on your own is simple and not complicated and we wanted to convey that to people,” says Samyuktha.
The duo has built a farmhouse in Odaiyakulam, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu and the walls were built along with workshop participants as a learning project. “Majorly, most of our materials were sourced locally. The mud used for making adobe was sourced from the farm itself. The stone, wood and lime used in the build were also sourced locally. Both internal and external plastering is lime plasters. We have used tadelakht plastering for the bathroom and lime surkhi plaster for the external walls,” she adds.