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Reused materials for Nilgiri home

Photography: Vivek Muthuramalingam

Bengaluru-based Biome Environmental Solutions has designed the Hornbill House in Nilgiri, which was to renovate an existing bungalow and build eight additional bungalows on a 135-acre estate, to be rented out as farm stays.

The project was realized at Oland Estate, a tea and coffee plantation that borders forest lands. The brief was to renovate an existing bungalow, and construct eight more bungalows. These structures were spread across the expansive property instead of designed as a close-knit development. Motorable roads and footpaths were built, and the bungalows built based on the views, easy access and privacy.

The Hornbill House is located in an old drying yard, bordered by a waterfall, layered against tea gardens and a mountainous background. Care was taken to ensure that no additional land was diverted from farming to construction and that there was no change in topography, which leads to soil erosion and construction waste deposit in the streams. The walls are a composite of stone on the outside and mud bricks on the inside. The exterior stone wall blends with the rock face near the location, while the mud walls provide warmth and shelter. The reused materials were retrieved from the old yard and the dilapidated watchman’s quarters.

Roads were repaired and slopes stabilized, which provided soil to make compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB) to build the walls. Broken Dado tiles were used to create a mosaic in the toilet.