Architect : Ar. Manoj Kumar Kini
Project Type : RESIDENTIAL
Client : Mr. Raveendran Karma
Location : Kollam
Area : 1.5 cents
Budget : 4.5 Lacs
IS THIS NOT SOCIAL ARCHITECTURE?
In his journey towards building a house of his own, the atrocities Raveendran Karma had to suffer is endless. He lost his sister and her children became orphans. Insult was abundantly showered on him for buying one and a half cents of land at a residential area of the socially affluent. Among all these sufferings, the unending support of a socially committed architect held him high.
“Today’s circumstance makes it almost impossible for a family with average or below average income to have an own house. The rich can’t think of a house without swimming pool, landscaping, costly building materials and walls without colours. But an average family needs a home without any luxury to live in. if an architect fails in catering to the needs of such families, what is the purpose of his professional qualification? An architect should have social commitment. It is possible to bring forth notable change in the living standards of a person through social design,” says Ar. Manoj Kumar Kini. The house at a cost of just 4.5 lakh in a 1.5 cent plot, designed by Ar. Manoj Kumar Kini, has lifted the living standard of the family.
In a housing colony of economically affluent, Raveendran bought 1.5 cents of land. Apart from the small area, there were several other constrains; road went around the plot and very close to the plot was a temple. The comments and criticism leveled by the neighbors against the living standard of Raveendran, who is a workshop owner, and his family deteriorated the mental strength of his wife Mini and his children Manjima and Navaneeth. ‘It’s not possible to build a house here’; with this thought in mind he went to meet his teacher and well wisher who made him buy the land. The words of the teacher gave some relief to Raveendran. He asked his son Manoj, an architect, to design a house for Raveendran. Thus, a house for Raveendran, became their common aim.
Ar. Manoj advised him well in advance to store the left out pieces of metal rods and pipes in the workshop he runs.
Manoj designed the building in a straight pattern considering the factors like; it shouldn’t be higher than the temple and enough room for setback. One meter setback was given from the road. On one side one metre and on the other 1.2 metres were left out. Then came the problem that if the wall is within 60 cm from the next building, windows are not allowed. Manoj overcame this by giving louvers using steel rods. The windows on the other side allowed sufficient air and light into the house.
Mud bricks with minimum cement were used to build the structure. Wood of the jack fruit tree that was in the plot was used to make doors and windows. Grills of windows were made with the left out steel rod pieces at the workshop. Left out tiles was collected from the godown. Men were hired only for brickwork. Everything else is the labour of Raveendran.
The entry into this house is into a small foyer where seats are built over storage cabinets on either side. Two step height below is the drawing cum dining area. After the drawing area is a small corridor, a bedroom, kitchen and a toilet. The architect succeeded in combining all the basic requirements of a house. The thought of whether, a study room or bed room could be built for the children, led to the expansion of the plan. Drawing area was given double height and a ladder was made of iron rods and pipes he had collected at his workshop. Just above the bedroom and kitchen in the ground floor, two bed rooms with general and attached toilets were built. Thus the demands of children were also met. “No interior works are done here. If needed it could be done later,” says Raveendran. Desire to have separate dining area, kitchen cupboards and work area etc. are suppressed due to constrains. “We got a house to stay and the rest could be considered later according to income,” he says.
Ar. Manoj Kini took the assignment as if he was building his own house and the reward he got was only that of mental satisfaction. Through the building of this house, the recognition Raveendran got in Kairali Nagar at Kollam and the recognition his children got at school cannot be expressed in words. The emotional security they got is immeasurable.
“Constructing 50 similar houses could change a society. The recognition one gets by owning a house is great. It would help in the development of interpersonal relationship and personality. Along with this the society develops. The social commitment of an architect gets completed here only. If all architects decide to build one such building every year, the housing need would get solved to a great extend. Architects should self equip to compromise with heavy fee and fame,” Manoj affirms. Is this not the apt example for social architecture?