Architect Dhruvang Hingmire worked along with architect Priyanka Gunjikar where they both construct using their own hands with natural materials and unconventional techniques of design and construction.
First, Dhruvang said that their team didn’t believe on the concept of copywriting and patenting because the more one idea will be replicated, the more it gets used and sustains and serves the cause. So, when they see that something of their own has been replicated, they are very happy actually to see this. Let’s take a look at the interview.
Yes, it does take sometime to convince them to use natural materials for building, but once we show them how we build by our own hands, then it naturally grows confidence within our clients.
Yes, we have been asked many times what is it all about. But to give an example, building naturally means using the materials that are easily recyclable so that our environment is not damaged. If we are using wood for the roof, then we are damaging trees. So, we have to use an alternative to save trees. But using steel or cement is not the answer for that because they also damage the environment to some extent in the manufacturing and installation process. So, we have to use completely recyclable stuff that are not damaging the environment at any cost.
In natural building, we use a lot of mud along with a small percentage of cement with it. But when the mud is mixed with cement then it gets damaged to some extent and also loses its ability to get recycled. So, we mostly try to use recyclable materials and of course local materials to reduce the rate of transportation.
The problem was most of the traditional knowledge and concept of building naturally was fading away. Because people’s aspirations or expectations have changed a lot. We can still see some old houses in the village where natural materials have been used, but most of them are also getting demolished to build modern houses. Because people also have to live in a certain way to match their status in society and to be accepted by the people in it. So, that’s why they are more into demolishing these traditional dwellings even if it costs more, gives more heat in the summer or makes it more cold in winter.
Yes, initially we do the drawing of the project but we don’t rely on that for the process of the construction because most of our workers are not literate so they cannot read the drawings. So, for that, we mostly rely on scaled models that we make for our workers to understand the project.
It’s very important for us to be able to make these people understand what we are planning to do and if it is practically possible. Because architects or designers bring some kind of urban influences with them, it takes a lot of credibility to make them understand the entire plan and its actual outcome. So, we use the local terms for the objects that we are using instead of their modern technical names so that we can connect with the locals and be a part of their culture.
Applicability of the natural building is very less in urban areas. There are many bungalows that are made of natural materials, but in high-rise buildings, lime or mud can never be used as materials.
It was never a choice for us, we never sat down and thought which side to go for - natural building or commercial ones. It was started as a passion and then turned into a career.
A-In the 5-year course of architecture, we were not taught about natural building or materials, that’s based on a lot of preparation and learning. In architecture, we are taught to represent what to build. Learning how to build by your own hands aids you in representation also and vice versa.