The vertical growth of the city
points towards how costly the land has become. The urban landscape is now
dotted with many skyscrapers. But can this be considered an organic development
of the city?
Not many agree with it and celebrated architect G Shankar is one of them. He
says the cityscape has been mutilated with the emergence of such residential
G Shankar, architect and founder
of Habitat Technology Group.
“People with deep pockets have amassed land banks.
Scarcity of land has been artificially created to suit the requirement of real
estate developers,” says Shankar. He does not spare those who splurge on huge
“The government should discourage houses above
3,000 square feet with super tax. Similarly excessive use of steel and glass
should be avoided,” he says. His organisation Habitat Technology Group has been
promoting low cost, eco-friendly and sustainable construction for the last 30
years across the globe. It showcases two prototypes of affordable houses at
Habitat Centre at Poojappura.
How much does it costs to construct a two BHK house in the city? If such a
question is put forward most people would arrive at a figure above Rs 25 lakh.
Habitat has constructed a 400 square feet house for Rs 4 lakh. One type of
house has two bedrooms, a multi-purpose hall, kitchenette and a toilet while
the other has a single bedroom but a more spacious living or dining area with a
With minimal use of cement and steel, the house
looks like a typical Habitat building where the walls remain unplastered. Walls
are made of interlocking earth blocks and pillar slab concrete is used for
roofing. “When people are tempted by large houses there are many who miss the
chance to own a house. My attempt is to provide them with courage to construct
low cost houses,” says Shankar.
bamboo house greets visitors at Habitat’s green campus located at Mudavanmugal.
The ‘Design and Build Bamboo School’ will be promoting eco-friendly building
materials. The technology for construction using bamboo will be developed
on the campus. Workshops for construction using bamboo and its treatment are
part of the campus.
The school aims at sustainable development and
utilisation of bamboo resources in the state through scientific management and
stakeholders’ participation, promotion of bamboo-based building technologies
and development of a workforce of architects, engineers, artisans and masons
for such technologies.