Bangalore’s Greenest Homes: the red laterite house of Indradev Babu

Indradev Babu’s laterite house has matching interiors, big skylights for natural air, uses wood smartly, mixes no waste and catches all its rain!

The desire to live in a place which not only takes care of the family’s needs but is also considerate towards the environment got Indradev Babu to shift to a house built entirely of laterite.

The laterite material gives an earthy look to the house.

Natural house – building out of laterite

Laterites are soil types rich in iron and aluminium, formed in hot and wet tropical areas. Nearly all laterites are rusty-red because of iron oxides. Historically, laterite was cut into brick-like shapes and used in monument building, like the Angkor Vat temples which is the largest structure to be made of laterite.

Laterite is an interesting material that gives a unique rust colour and texture when used as a building block. It is a zero finish material and can be used as a building block directly. The material ages well – it retains its character even as it gets old with the house. Laterite for Indradev Babu’s house has been sourced directly from Kerala and very efficiently placed in certain parts of the house like the living room.

Large skylight fills the living room with natural light all day long.

“It has a very nice colour and texture, it gives our living room an unusual look. Even the interiors have been designed to match the texture of the walls,” says Babu. Sourcing the right labour for this material was a bit of a challenge and a contractor arranged it for the family. The major issue was the cost of transportation because the material is bulky, it needs careful laying and aligning so skilled labour is a must.

An interesting part of the house is the living area which has been designed like an island and garden surrounding it.In addition, puch work at the front of the house made out of waste granite pieces give a natural effect to the building. The Babu family has also used  hard wood very effectively on the staircase and floor, giving the house a retro look while matching with the laterite colour. The living room also gets an abundance of natural light coming in from a big skylight.

Waste, Water and Energy

Designed by renowned sustainable architect Anup Naik of Space Matrix, the laterite house is a perfect blend of aesthetic design and sustainability. The family shifted in this huge 9,000 square feet site area house in 2005 and since then they have made sure to follow a eco friendly lifestyle.

Babu uses solar for water heating and plans to set up a solar system for lighting purpose as well. The house has been constructed in a way that it connects rain water to ground for recharge. The Townsend community where the family lives also has a community level water treatment plant where the grey water is recycled and used for watering shared green spaces.The family also segregates their waste into wet and dry. The residents of their community do not depend on BWSSB connection, their water needs are fulfilled by rain water harvesting in addition to borewell water.

Abundant sunlight filters into Indradev Babu’s house through a skylight.

‘What green means to me’

“Green means greenery, birds, garden and environment. There is a need to do a lot more in terms of water and energy management. There is an urgent need to focus on water today. We need to be self sustaining today, we should be conscious about how do we manage the resources that we have today.”

You can contact Indradev Babu at His house is located at Townsend, Yelahanka, North Bangalore.

The large living room is Indradev Babu’s favourite place in the house.

Bangalore’s greenest homes is a series on beautiful homes that have been built on strong sustainability principles – from natural building materials to efficient light and space design, water harvesting, off-the-grid energy energy, eco-friendly decor and furniture. And a lifestyle for the residents where less has meant a lot more. 

This series on Bangalore’s greenest homes has been done with the support of ZED Habitats – the largest green  residential developer in India today, and a leader in pioneering building technologies and management systems.

Shreya Pareek is a development journalist who is passionate about grassroot change and sustainable living. Follow her on twitter @shreya08 more


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Shreya Pareek is a development journalist who is passionate about grassroot change and sustainable living. Follow her on twitter @shreya08 more

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