SUBMITTED BY:- ASSIGNMENT III
Y B KAVYA REDDY – 080105
D LOWKYA CHATURIKA - 080113
Laurence Wilfred "Laurie" Baker (2 March 1917 – 1 April 2007)
was an award-winning British-born Indian architect, renowned
for his initiatives in cost-effective energy-efficient architecture and
for his unique space utilization and simple but beautiful aesthetic
sensibility. In time he made a name for himself both
in sustainable architecture as well as in organic architecture.
He went to India in 1945 in part as a missionary and since then
lived and worked in India for over 50 years. He obtained Indian
citizenship in 1989 and resided
Kerala, since 1970, where he later set
up an organization called COSTFORD
(Centre of Science and Technology for
Rural Development), for spreading
awareness for low cost housing.
In 1990, the Government of India awarded
him with the Padma Shri in recognition of
his meritorious service in the field of architecture.
Baker studied architecture at Birmingham Institute of Art and
Design,Birmingham and graduated in 1937, aged 20, in a
period of political unrest in Europe.
His initial commitment to India had him working as an
architect for World Leprosy Mission, an international and
interdenominational Mission dedicated to the care of those
suffering fromleprosy in 1945.
As new medicines for the treatment of the disease were
becoming more prevalent, his responsibilities were focused on
converting or replacing asylums once used to house
the ostracized sufferers of the disease - "lepers".
Baker had no choice but to observe and learn from the
methods and practices of the vernacular architecture.
. He soon learned that the indigenous architecture and
methods of these places were in fact the only viable means to
deal with his once daunting problems.
Inspired by his discoveries (which he modestly admitted were
'discoveries' only for him, and mere common knowledge to
those who developed the practices he observed), he began to
turn his style of architecture towards one that respected the
actual culture and needs of those who would actually use his
buildings, rather than just playing to the more "Modern-istic"
tunes of his paying clients.
o One of his influences has been Mahatma Gandhi, for him proper
development can be done if raw material is brought from a place
in a range of 5-10 kms.
o Laurie Baker’s architecture was a contemporary version of the
o He draws a creative sustenance from the environment in which he
works, absorbing vernacular patterns of construction and individual
styles of living to such a degree that he is able to give his clients.
o The forgotten vernacular techniques were used in his design.
o He criticized the works of Le Corbusier, his structures were
o Another inspiration for him has been ordinary men.
Throughout his practice, Baker became well known for
designing and building low cost, high quality, beautiful homes,
with a great portion of his work suited to or built for lower-
middle to lower class clients.
His buildings tend to emphasize prolific - at times virtuosic -
masonry construction, instilling privacy and evoking history
with brick jali walls, a perforated brick screen which invites a
natural air flow to cool the buildings' interior, in addition to
creating intricate patterns of light and shadow.
Another significant Baker feature is irregular, pyramid-like
structures on roofs, with one side left open and tilting into the
Baker's designs invariably have traditional Indian sloping
roofs and terracotta Mangalore tile shingling with gables and
vents allowing rising hot air to escape.
Curved walls enter Baker's architectural vocabulary as a
means to enclose more volume at lower material cost than
Baker's architectural method is one of improvisation, in which
initial drawings have only an idealistic link to the final
construction, with most of the accommodations and design
choices being made on-site by the architect himself.
Compartments for milk bottles near the doorstep, windowsills
that double as bench surfaces, and a heavy emphasis on
taking cues from the natural condition of the site are just
This saves construction cost as well, since working around
difficult site conditions is much more cost-effective.
Baker created a cooling system by placing a high, latticed,
brick wall near a pond that uses air pressure differences to
draw cool air through the building.
Various features of his work such as using recycled material,
natural environment control and frugality of design may be
seen as sustainable architecture or green building with its
emphasis on sustainability.
His responsiveness to never-identical site conditions quite
obviously allowed for the variegation that permeates his
The upturned, horned roofs of buildings as found in Kerala
are the direct result of the people of those places, they knew
that hot air rises & allowed it to travel upwards from the low
eaves to the openings at the ends of the high ridge.
They understood and applied principles of insulation; then
roofing materials formed hollow cellular protective layers.
o Using corbelling instead of a lintel above the frame, this
reduces the cost of the R.C.C lintel.
o Using less number of bricks to make a wall of same thickness
and providing cavities in between for insulation.
He used jalis which had many advantages, such as ventilation,
enough light, less material required.
Reducing the unnecessary cost of a window with a shutter.
Using ‘jali’ in his walls for proper cross ventilation, enough sun
Baker creates a variety of textures Laurie Baker used material from other
and patterns by simple demolished structures. Wood planks from
manipulation of the way in which an old boat jetty. He even used old bottles
bricks are placed in the wall. in a structure, which gives a different effect.
Filler slab : Advantages:
20-35% Less materials
Decorative, Economical & Reduced self-load
Almost maintenance free
25-30% Cost Reduction
Jack Arch :
Energy saving & Eco-Friendly compressive roofing.
Decorative & Highly Economical
Masonry Dome :
Energy saving eco-friendly compressive roof.
Decorative & Highly Economical for larges spans.
Funicular shell :
Energy saving eco-friendly compressive roof.
Decorative & Economical
Masonry Arches :
Traditional spanning system.
Highly decorative & economical
Less energy requirement.
Projects ranging from fishermen's villages to institutional
complexes, low cost mud housing schemes to low cost cathedrals.
Centre for Development Studies, Ulloor, Trivandrum, 1971.
Houses at Archbishop Compound, Pattom, Trivandrum, 1970.
K.N.Raj's residence, Kumarapuram, Trivandrum, 1970.
House for R. Narayanan, Golf Links, Trivandrum, 1972-73.
Mitraniketan, Vellanad, Trivandrum - 1970
House for Dr A.Vaidyanathan, Kumarapuram, Trivandrum.
House for Leela Menon, Golf Links, Trivandrum, 1973-74.
House for Beena Sarasan (an Income Tax officer), Kowdiar,
An architects personality is reflected in the way he designs his
1st built a single room hut of timber. It housed the library of
medical books & also as B.R, L.R, D.R & study.
The site was highly contoured and rocky, but baker did not
disturb even a single rock or a tree, so it is popularly named
as “right in the rocks”.
A house was built on the lower contour for the 4 nieces who
moved to Trivandrum.
One more house was built for his son Tilak which faced the
‘The Hamlet’ has been built on a steeply contoured site.
The incursion of structures on the site is not felt.
Baker has managed to confine this building to an area that is
easily accessible& yet secluded by the heavy foliage.
The journey to Bakers home is like from a concrete jungle of
Trivandrum to the freshness & shade of the suburbs.
This is remarkable and unique house built on a plot of land
along the slope of a rocky hill, with limited access to water.
STEPS DIRECTLY CUT IN ROCK
ENTRANCE HAS SMALL SITTING AREA FOR GUESTS
THE WALL IS DECORATED FROM BROKEN POTTERY, PENS,
A CALLING BELL FOR VISITORS TO ANNOUNCE THEIR
USE OF NATURAL LIGHT
NEVER CUT TREES INSTEAD ADAPTED HIS DESIGN
INNER COURTYARD …CLOSE TO NATURE
ARCHES LED INTO A BEAUTIFUL OPEN ROOM
COURTYARD HAS MANY GARDENS AND PONDS
PITCHED ROOF MADE OF MANGALORE TILES
BAKER’S FONDNESS OF ARCHES
GABLES FOR PROPER AIR CIRCULATION AND
SIMPLE YET BEAUTIFUL WINDOWS
GRILL MADE OF BITS AND PIECES
CONICAL STRUCTURE USED
COST EFFECTIVE BAKER’S WINDOW
LOUVERED WINDOW TYPICAL OF BAKER’S TYPE
STAINED GLASS EFFECT
WATER TANK FOR STORING RAIN HARVESTED WATER
MATERIAL USED FROM UNCONVENTIONAL SOURCES
FAMILY EATS IN KITCHEN
ELECTRICITY WIRING IS NOT CONCEALED
Baker was very fond of beautiful
carvings which were usually lost
when old traditional Kerala
houses were destroyed to make
This niecerie was built for
baker’s four nieces
Even the dog has a well placed jali
to let the morning light filter in
The large Kerala-style
window at the end of
the bedroom provides
The Dog House And The both light and a good
round-shaped Niecerie view
The Baker’s bedroom
resembles a long railway
The niecerie and
Bird’s Eye View Of The Hamlet
This door is made from two traditional old
Kerala doors when an old building was
A closeup of the carving torn down which Baker bought and joined
together to create this unique door
The decoration is
made from broken
pottery, glass and
The steps leading up to the
front door of the hamlet
The entrance has a small
sitting area for guests
The wall is decorated
with waste materials
Baker has cut the step directly
into the rock face of the sloping
plot of land
A calling bell for visitors to
announce their presence
A view from the opposite
side. The roof of the garage is
done with filler slab
use of Use of natural light in exteriors
Use of natural light in interiors
Use of natural
A view from the inner the courtyard
courtyard into the room
Picture of the round room
utilises light to
Baker always designed to
utilize sunlight effectively
Baker extensively and minimize the need for
used arched to lend artificial lighting
structural strength to
Baker never cut down
trees, instead adapted his
plans, building around
The tower: it was
built for his guests
All the ventilators, doors
and windows were
designed according to
ancient designs of
Baker’s fondness for arches
Inner courtyard: Baker
always lived close to nature
garden has many
trees and a pond
giving a feeling of
The jalis filter in the being very close to
morning light nature
The arches lead into a lovely open room
Creative wall fixtures
An improvised Baker’s
grill made of bits and Stained glass effect
pieces including a piece
of clutch plate
Water tank for storing rain harvested water A jali wall
Gables for proper air
Baker’s building were
always close to nature
These conical structures
are often used by Baker
for air circulation
Typical traditional tiling
used in South India
mostly in areas where Another cost effective
sloped Baker window
Simple yet beautiful windows of Baker’s type
made from waste wooden planks and grills
made of thrown away metal pieces