Visit the Laurie Baker Centre (LBC) for lectures and tour.
Visit Self-employed Women's Association (SEWA) paper factory
We attended a lecture on low-cost construction technology outlining affordable materials and technology drawn from Laurie Baker's architectural philosophy. There are an impressive multitude of ways to save costs on construction projects if all elements of the building are considered. This includes not only the types of architectural features but also the the building process, type of materials (bricks, mortar, cement, mud, etc.) and the lifespan of materials. The Laurie Baker philosophy of architecture seems to be "use what you have."
We were lectured at the Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies, a campus designed by Baker and the COSTFORD team. The main building was originally built for an Indian-Canadian homeowner:
The campus occupies the site of a former quarry, which has since been largely restored into a tropical forest habitat:
Having seen several restored quarries in North America of similar age, the rate of regeneration is impressive. The difference in the growing seasons is remarkable:
Nearby is a rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) plantation where latex is collected for refinement into rubber:
Our final stop of the day was the Self-employed Women's Association paper-making facility. Here, paper items are handcrafted from recycled cotton fibre and newspapers, mixed with dye and pressed to produce colorful paper used to make notebooks, cards and boxes. SEWA's factory is also located in a building constructed by Laurie Baker and the COSTFORD team.
Visit to Centre for Development Studies campus in Trivandrum for lectures and tour
The CDS campus was designed by British architect Laurie Baker and constructed between 1973 and 2008. Baker pioneered an innovative system of architecture using local knowledge and materials and his own logic to construct low-cost and eco-sensitive buildings.
Baker's architecture is undeniably unique, but also attractive. Our first taste of his buildings was at the CDS campus, which was entirely designed by Baker and his team of architects and engineers in the organization COSTFORD.
Some examples of L.B.'s architecture:
Curved walls provide structural support with little material:
Screen-like walls enable airflow, natural cooling, and let in light while not requiring glass.
Some photos of Mithraniketan:
The Karimadom Colony is a slum in Trivandrum currently undergoing redevelopment. The state government attempted smaller-scale redevelopment in the early 1990's with limited success. The new COSTFORD homes appear to be an improvement.
The Karimadom Colony:
Early 1990's redevelopment projects:
The new COSTFORD homes: