L’expertise solidaire pour construire un habitat digne et durable pour tous




Some beneficiaries had fields in the centre of the village of Arunthangavillai where they had dilapidated shacks made of coconut tree leaves or makeshift houses. For constructing their new homes, it was sometimes necessary to take into account the size of fields, the composition of families or else the possibilities of preserving the existing building by incorporating it into the new construction. Each and every home constructed by A&D for these beneficiaries was studied case by case. For one, it avoided the monotony of building identical houses. I give below the details of two houses constructed around a common courtyard.

A family consisting of two generations had lived under the same roof until now. This family which had a comparatively narrow land ,really wanted to use this opportunity of the new construction to build two houses, next to each other but independent-This, while giving them privacy, would still keep them near each other. This is a common practice in India. A&D thus solved the problem by offering to construct 2 independent houses but united around a central courtyard.

This house had a special feature outside therefore, in that at the entrance both verandas are united as one while being separated by an imaginary border which would be the step of the door. Following every veranda, the one to the right of the entrance, other one to the left are both kitchens, then four rooms on both sides of the courtyard , two per house.

The common courtyard was made possible because the houses were constructed together and yet separately.

A roof with two slopes was built to cover the courtyard by keeping openings on perimeters to allow good ventilation and optimum light. The A&D architects proposed to construct a wooden well-built traditional roof covered with tiles, but the owners preferred concrete, which they felt was more modern than tiles as well without the hassle of changing tiles. A&D’s enthusiasm to involve the beneficiaries in the construction of their houses sometimes leads to resolutions of building less adapted to environment as well as lack of aesthetics!!

This roof with two slopes, contrary to the other houses provided with a flat roof, made the house stand out from the rest, and even had some other beneficiaries complaining that it gave the owners undue importance and more social standing than their neighbours...!! Next time the team of architects will take into account this detail...