'Matti Mahal', constructed by architect couple Yuga Akhare and Sagar Shirude in Wagheshwar village in Maharashtra (Pics. Courtesy thebetterindia.com)
As architects they have designed several buildings but the closet to their hearts is the one, they built with their hands. Meet Yuga Akhare and Sagar Shirude, a couple from Pune, Maharashtra who gave creativity a new dimension by constructing a two-floor house made of mud, all by themselves.
Planning to make a farmhouse for themselves in Wagheshwar village, the couple thought of using bamboo and clay for construction. The locals informed that the structure would not be able to withstand the region’s heavy rains.
Not willing to give up, the two looked at houses and forts that had been constructed in the past with mud and many of them were still intact. It is then decided to use old construction methods to come with a design and materials for a sustainable structure. For this they used material which was available locally and also recycled many things.
Talking to thebetterindia.com Shirude disclosed: “We have used locally available bamboo, red soil and grass for this house. We sourced stems of Karvy plants and bamboo mats from a nearby forest for the walls. For clay, we took an indigenous concoction of red soil, husk, jaggery and juice from the myrobalan plant. This was further mixed with neem, cow urine and cow dung. The land preparation and coating for walls were done with cow urine and cow dung.”
Further for the roof, the bamboo frames were covered with two layers – one of plastic sheets and the other was of grass. The binding layer did not allow water during monsoon inside the house.
Using a 700 years old “wattle and daub” technique in which woven lattice of wooden or bamboo strips are plastered with filler material that is sticky like mud plaster, to make the structure weatherproof. It also provided sound and high thermal insulation.
For walls Cob system in which a mixture of soil, cow dung and urine, hay and lime was used to make the place absorb heat during cold season and cool during the hot ones thereby eliminating use of air-conditioners and fans.
Recycled wood was utilised for windows and doors while upcycled tiles were used to make bathroom floors.
Named “Mitti Mahal”, the farmhouse was built with the help of local masons in a period of four months, and has a verandah, kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom and terrace. And all it cost was just Rs. Four lakhs only.
Akhare and Shirude graduated from Pune in 2014 and started Saagaa Associates.