PLACE MAYAPRAXIS – Architects studio and home
Built Up Area
650 Sq. m

In a compact site in fast growing Bengaluru, the brick building houses the home and studio of an architect couple. The brick is made from earth dug up from the site itself. It is stabilized with a little cement, sundried and crafted into a monolithic minimal edifice that celebrates the beauty and wonder of brick.

The building is located in a dense urban neighbourhood at the edge of a city forest reserve. The site is 264 sq. m. [2840 sft.] facing north on a 12m wide road. The core idea that setup the architectural character was following a few simple rules- no plaster or paint, sill or lintel or projecting sunshades, and lastly, no tiles. This made the building look and work the way it is now – designed and crafted with care, making it sustainable, site specific and powered with raw beauty and honesty. The earth excavated for the basement, piled up in the adjacent site, seemed to be telling us to make use of her. Make bricks from me and build yourself a wonderful place, and don’t dump me in some landfill far away – she seemed to be saying. And we made bricks from the earth, soaked them in the sun. These bricks were stronger than any brick we had used before. Its beautiful texture, color and size inspired us to tell a story about the brick in the architecture of the building.

This building was to be a home and office for us. As architects, we have always liked buildings under construction. And later, when everything gets plastered, the power of the material, its tectonic character is lost. We told ourselves that we will make a building where Beauty comes from the rawness of the materials - brick, concrete, wood and steel. Brick walls would make the building, supported by a structure of concrete and steel. Wooden windows, partitions and casework will complement the brick walls. So, we got to work. We had never used the earth brick before. We first selected a brick size that was bigger than the regular Indian standard. We then decided to put it on its shorter edge and try the ‘rat-trap- bond.’ The rat trap bond is a beautiful bond. We had used it with the regular baked red brick, but never with the earth brick. With the bigger brick, the bond made a rhythmic ornamental pattern on the outside, with a hidden cavity in the center. This double advantage of the ‘rat-trap bond’ clinched it for us as the way to make the brick wall.

Utilities, Building Services& Sustainable strategies:

Many passive and active design strategies were put in place to make the building ecologically friendly and make the site utilities and services efficient–

  • Rainwater was harvested by collecting the terrace water and recharging a 1m dia x 9m deep well located within our site [below the office staircase]. This was done after running it through another shallow filtration tank located in the house garden.
  • A natural ventilation system was designed using skylights and vents and in the strategic location of windows.
  • Ample daylight was diffused into the interior with clever location of windows and skylights
  • Solar power for electricity to run the office is provided. A set of PV panels is located in the terrace to provide 5 kW of power. This supplies 100 percent of electricity for the office.
  • Solar water heating for the residence is also incorporated. All this was done elegantly to keep the architecture consistent with the idea of beauty in rawness.
  • Kitchen wet waste composting is undertaken using a terracotta compostingsystem, and the compost is used for the garden landscape.
  • Vegetable garden using organic methods is incorporated into the ground floor as well as the terrace gardens.
  • The terrace garden reduces the heat load on the terrace slab and keeps it cool

Please refer to the drawings [plans and sections] for a better description.