A.R. Shivakumar is a scientist and a visionary. Rightly called as the ‘Rain catcher’ of Bangalore, he has shown such unsurpassed nature friendly architecture for his home that it is a truly a learning lesson for all architects around the world.
As we become more aware of our environmental problems every day, we hear the news of how the scarcity of fresh water is catching up in every city. Presently the water requirement for Bangalore is 1,400 million litres per day. From the Kaveri, Karnataka draws 682.5 million litres a day. The manmade reservoirs in Bangalore like the Hesaraghatta Lake and Tippegondahanally reservoir are drying up unable to fulfill the requirement. It could be just the next year when we may have to buy the irreplaceable water for our lives at a very high cost.
But National Award winner Shivakumar has just the perfect solution for it. Plus he has tested on his own home. And since last the two decades he did not have to use or pay for a single drop of water from the municipality.
Shivakumar has built the perfectly simple and practical rainwater harvesting. He built two 5,000 litre tanks on his roof and on the ground which catch rainwater. He built another one on his portico and for the fourth one, he built it below his garage. The water that goes into these tanks is very clean as these tanks have been fitted by a special filter called the Rain Tap Pop-up. This filter is also Shivkumar’s invention which is very effective in removing any mud or dirt coming in with the rainwater.
The rainwater collected by these tanks is enough to run his home. But Shivkumar has gone into more perfection – his house also has a system of recycling the used water in toilets flush. The kitchen sink water goes into gardening.
If an architect can understand the simplicity of this wonderful system and apply it, each house whether residential or commercial will be self sufficient. It would not require water from outside sources, even rarely in extreme cases. His own home is entirely dependent on rainwater harvesting.
His house`Sourabha’ has become a must see landmark for people who are planning to construct truly balanced and modern homes. He is a master when it comes to making a modern home built on poise with nature. Built on a plot of 60’ by 40’, he has made and installed solar heaters spreading on the roof due to which this family of four has monthly electricity consumption of 80 units only. To reduce recurring costs, the exposed part of the roof has been aesthetically fitted with clay tiles that keep the house very cool in summers and warm in winters. The ceiling looks dreamy with patterned skylight which illuminates the house with natural light. Imagine seeing the sunlight and moonlight gracing your home giving it a magical and serene environment.
To keep the house temperature comfortable, the eastern side of the house is built with stones and painted white to deflect heat. The southern & western walls are made with bricks in rat trap bonds that have provided so good insulation that one hardly needs the air conditioner. Due to the natural AC one even rarely needs to use the electric fan!
The wind direction was noted and the doors and windows were so constructed so that the wind can be ‘guided’. The wind enters through the ‘Green Curtain’ that is, through plants,trees & water bodies placed strategically around the home. Greenery absorbs carbon dioxide and deposits moisture on the wind thus leading only fresh, clean and cool air into the home.
This home was made on the vision and active participation of Shivakumar with the help of architects designed by architects Sudha and Jayshree.
Are wondering how much it would cost to make this truly ideal home? It cost Shivakumar Rs. 8, 50,000 in 1994 which is 20-30% cheaper. Money has been saved on the window grills & house gate which are made of powder-coated bright steel bars which require no painting or maintenance.
“The heat-contributing south & west walls have been made blind with bright paints while the north and east directions have maximum doors & expansive windows which together with skylights ensure full air circulation & diffused light. A neem tree serves as a natural pesticide for the profusion of greenery including the terrace garden, all organic,” Shivkumar explains.
He has also kept out the pestering cockroaches. He found out that cockroaches generally find their way into your home through the sewers, so by introducing a simple a U-shaped tube that acts as a water trap, he has negated the entry of these insects.
‘Sourabha’ is at 3rd Main Road, Basaveshwara, Vijayanagar in Bangalore and Mr. Shivakumar is always cheerful to train architects and engineers who are here to make a better world.
Mr. Shivakumar is truly a son who respects Mother Nature.
Image credits: thealternative.in, ecoideaz.com