Father-Son Duo Construct Sustainable House Utilizing Mud, Straw & Cow Dung


When requested about our dream home, most of us would have a standard reply: a home with minimalist interiors and trendy structure. Nevertheless, Kiran Amati had a completely completely different concept of a dream home

Residing within the high-rise flats of Mumbai, Kiran yearned to steer a easy life. “The 2 issues I’ve at all times been keen about had been sustainable dwelling and music. Working a company job, I had at all times wished to pursue my passions,” he says.

Kiran’s time lastly got here in 2020 when his daughter was born. He determined to grow to be a stay-at-home dad and pursue his music profession. Concurrently, he resolved to construct his dream dwelling together with his father on a half-acre farm, 60 km from town.

The daddy-son duo selected an unconventional path, opting to assemble their dwelling utilizing mud, straw, clay, native soil, stone, cow dung, and lime. A labour of affection, the duo hand-built their dwelling with the help of volunteers and the collaboration of Lakhichand Jain, a nationwide award-winning visible artist, designer, and scholar.

In a dialog with The Higher India, Kiran defined the motivation, inspiration, and the method concerned in making a mud dwelling.

A full-time musician, stay-at-home dad and nature fanatic

Kiran’s father, Prakash, can also be a nature fanatic and has at all times dreamt of proudly owning cattle on his farm.

The duo named the mud house Om Niwas.
The duo named the mud home ‘Om Niwas’. Image credit score: Kiran Amti

“We used to ponder rather a lot on the type of home we wished that might accommodate each our needs. Whereas we had been sure that our dwelling would have area for my father to have no less than two cows, we had been uncertain concerning the construction,” he says.

“It was solely after he retired and I made a decision to be a stay-at-home dad that we began searching for solutions,” he says.

With Kiran’s spouse additionally on maternity depart, he managed to seek out time to go to villages and study their lifestyle.

“In the meantime, my father found Dr Malik in Rajasthan, who conducts a four-day workshop the place members be taught to make adobe bricks utilizing cow dung, lime, and dust. Since we had been eager on being as nature-friendly as potential, my father determined to take the course,” he says.

On the identical workshop, Prakash met Shagun Singh, the founding father of Geeli Mitti Centre of Excellence, a Uttarakhand-based organisation that makes mud homes. 

“I regarded them up and located a number of the sustainable homes they’d made and was satisfied that this was what I wished to do,” he says. 

The duo determined to take a month-long course to grasp what it takes to make a mud home. 

“By the top of the course, I imagine we had a transparent concept of the dimensions of the home we would have liked, how the rooms could be divided, and a fundamental construction design in thoughts,” he remembers. 

Krian collaborated with award-winning artist Lakhichand Jain to paint Mandana art on the walls.
Kiran collaborated with award-winning artist Lakhichand Jain to color Mandana artwork on the partitions. Image credit score: Kiran Amati

Shagun additionally offered architectural recommendation to the duo for constructing their dream home. 

“We executed the entire plan ourselves and didn’t rent any contractors. Conventional contractors would don’t know how the supplies utilised in our home’s development are used,” he says.

“We simply enlisted 4 labourers from the close by village and began constructing. All of it simply got here collectively. We additionally shared the challenge particulars on Fb and WhatsApp, and anybody eager about studying and volunteering might be part of,” he says.

The duo had about 80 volunteers all through the development of the home. In 2022, they began their six-month-long journey of affection and labour and named their dwelling — Om Niwas. 

Father-son’s labour of affection 

The round dwelling, with a diameter of 16 toes, is a studio-style area with bedrooms, a kitchen on the bottom flooring and a meditation area on the primary flooring.

“There aren’t any partitions in your complete home. We have now a settee in the lounge and a mattress within the bed room, all product of mud,” he informs, including that the primary flooring is generally empty area with artwork made by award-winning artist, Lakhichand Jain. The partitions have stunning Mandana artwork with tantra motifs. 

The flooring of the home are product of an attention-grabbing mixture of wooden and straw. “So there have been loads of felled bushes within the village. We determined to cut the wooden up and lay it on the ground. For the area that is still in between, we crammed it with sawdust and Fevicol, a kind of mortar, after which we simply sanded it on high and put polish,” he explains. 

The house uses a unique dry septic tank filled with a mix of dry leaves, lime and saw dust.
The home makes use of a novel dry septic tank stuffed with a mixture of dry leaves, lime and sawdust. Image credit score: Kiran Amati

For the partitions, the duo used mud. He says, “The muse is totally product of stones, constructed with none mortar, making it a dry stone basis. The plinth consists of stones with lime, together with Suruki mortar. Suruki is much like brick powder, serving as an mixture for the mortar. The partitions are constructed totally from mud, offering a pure mud composition.” 

Along with being made with sustainable supplies, the home additionally makes use of a novel methodology for its waste administration. 

“I feel the septic tank is price mentioning. It’s a dry septic tank, not the same old sort the place all sewage and kitchen waste overflow. We created a combination utilizing dry leaves collected from falling bushes, together with a little bit of lime and sawdust. We combined these three elements outdoors and dumped the combo into the septic tank, filling no less than 70% of the tank with this mix,” he explains. 

Over the time of 4 to five years, the waste retains getting decomposed earlier than it’s important to refill the combo. 

Speaking about some hurdles he confronted in the course of the development of the home, he says, “We couldn’t safe the suitable manpower, and people we did discover had been unfamiliar with the supplies required. It grew to become an experimental course of, the place we examined the proportions of sand, clay, and lime a couple of days earlier than utility. The outcomes had been unpredictable, and when failures occurred on the partitions, we needed to scrap your complete part and begin over.”

“Nevertheless, redoing and brainstorming with volunteers made the entire course of actually enjoyable. It’s not like the traditional properties the place there might be one contractor who will come and oversee issues whereas a machine mixes the mortar. We actually acquired to get our fingers soiled,” he says. 

Whereas within the preliminary phases, the home acquired many important opinions, the home is immediately a landmark within the village. “They’d say Mumbai rains closely, and it’s laborious to think about a mud home sustaining for greater than two or three years right here. Regardless of the fixed chatter from self-proclaimed specialists within the village, providing their invaluable recommendation on how issues ought to be achieved, we merely ignored it,” he says. 

“Now it’s recognized all through the village. So each time an auto driver wants instructions to the village, locals information them by referring to our mud home. Many individuals from the village have visited us, making it a recognisable landmark for the neighborhood,” he says. 

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)


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