Laterite House: Anup Naik-Bangalore-Sustainable Architecture

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profile anupAnup Naik’s work in sustainable architecture has won him numerous accolades across the globe. Here, he talks to us about the Laterite House, his journey in architecture and his commitment towards sustainable design. He is the principal architect at Space Matrix based in Bangalore. Laterite House

Tell us something about yourself. How did you decide to study architecture, where did you study, and what were the early years like?

I am a trained architect and urban designer, and have been actively involved in this profession for the past 16 years.I completed my graduation from BMS College of Engineering (Dept of Architecture)Bangalore and went on to specialise in Urban Design at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Along with my professional pursuit I am also an academician, actively involved in teaching Urban Design and varied architectural subjects.

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At present, I am a partner and Director in Space Matrix Design Consultants, headquartered in Singapore. Space Matrix is involved with various projects and across multiple verticals dealing with urban infrastructure, residential, and transportation, hospitality, high-rise, healthcare and specialised buildings.

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As a child and throughout my youth, the marriage between art and technology fascinated me, and this probably led me to pursue architecture. The initial years in practise were about creating an identity for architectural practise for the future, it was always about unlearning and adapting as quickly as possible….truly Wonder Years.

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Could you tell us about the Laterite House project ?

The home we designed belongs to Mrs and Mr. Indradev Babu, who are extremely well-known in the machine tooling Industry. The project is located in Townsend, a residential enclave in Yelahanka, North Bangalore. We were involved in master planning the entire enclave, and this allowed us to respond to the site very effectively. The home has been designed largely based on the Fibonacci series and the principles of passive right.

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The home was built on getting the inside out and the outside in. The key here was to tackle all these transition areas very sensitively. Lot of care has been taken to get light as subtly as possible, and to play with the air movement.

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Enlighten us about the concept, and the use of laterite and stone?

Laterite is an exciting material which can be crafted, and has a lovely colour and texture. It is also a zero finish material and can be utilised as a building block directly. Laterite ages very well as a material and becomes richer visually. Here we utilised the stone as a structuring and accent material, connecting the inside space with the outside. Most of the transition areas have this material. We were fortunate also to get some river stone for cladding and built using the butch method. This was used as a contrast and accent.

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“Our ancestors have left us a huge wealth of knowledge. Lot of this learning happens when you travel and observe the surroundings. It becomes exciting to make it relevant in today’s context and time. This could be in context of material usage, planning techniques, construction techniques, ventilation, landscape, form-making, symbolism, security and engineering systems. My understanding is that we as professionals need to run this part of the relay and allow this knowledge transfer.

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“My focus has always been on PASSIVE RIGHT, which becomes the fundamental driver in the approach to green architecture and zero energy development. The need arises from the fact that most of the active components have a very short shelf life and are superseded in a blink of an eye. When you see the building cycle, from the time you start on the board and to actual completion, 24 months go by and the building survives for another 50 years. The physicality of the building does not change, but the active components become outdated. This persuades one to believe that making the building Passive Right is the only solution.”

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The challenge for modern architects is to understand and utilise ancient techniques in today’s context.

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“At this moment in my career, the focus has been to push the envelope of sustainability as forcefully as possible. The drive has been to demystify this whole business of green. In the process, lots of learning has been imbibed from the way our forefathers built. Aspects such as response to a site, stewarding of land, material sensitivity, response to nature and all its elements and working along with it have been the biggest highlights.

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I am extremely passionate about sustainable architecture and inspired by the seamless incorporation of sustainable elements in ancient buildings.”

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Anup works tirelessly incorporate sustainable elements into everyday work and to demystify sustainability and make it affordable and adaptable for clients. He has been the driving force behind Space Matrix’s holistic approach to green architecture and zero energy developments.

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