Project Description

This is a modest size building in a small site in a higher income locality in Mysore City. Built in 1985-1989 with path breaking techniques of Stabilized Mud Blocks and filler slab roofs as well as uncommon spacial sequence and openings all responding to the smallness of the site and the local moderate climate. Designed for a low energy consumption utilizing climate responsive design needing very little artificial ventilation using at the most ceiling fans.

House of bhooshan crop 1
Mysore 5
Mysore 4
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Solar water1
Mysore 1
Mysore 2
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Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2
Drive way detail
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Building Details

Single famiy Residence

New building

211.00 m²


150 m²

125 m²

100 percent m²

not done

INR 350000

INR 2333

1989 marginal modification of toilets and kichen cabinets in 2010


Project Team

BSB Architects, Bangalore and Mysore


Owner built. with Labour Contractors

C N Yadunandan

Dr. B S Bhooshan

Principal Architect, BSB architects, Mysore and Bangalore. Has been in practice since 1988. Was a teacher at Mysore University earlier. Won several national awards. Has been in visiting professor guiding Doctoral Research students. at CEPT, Ahmedabad, Manipal University , Anna University, Chennai and BMS College Bangalore

M S Vijayakumar

SMB consultant : Prof. K S Jagadish of ASTRA, Ind. Inst. of Science, Bangalore

Climate Analysis

Located on the Southern tip of Deccan Plateau, Mysore city enjoys a very comfortable climate. Its temperature hardly crosses 35 degree Celsius in summer and hardly touches 15 in winter nights. It also gets good breezse from south west and enjoys fairly good rain spread most of the year. The design parameters are to respond to hot Summer months between April and August and heavy down pours on many days spread over the year, mostly during June to December.. It becomes sultry summer as relative humidity would range between 50-60 during. Needs good air movement.

Wind rose mysore
Maximum temperature mysore
Avg temp and preciptation mysore
Sunpath mysore

Design Approach

Perched up on eight columns, this small house for a young family at a tight budget was designed responding to hot months.. At the same time, compactness to maintain easily was a consideration. The double pitched roof was a response to the form of houses found around in the traditional rural Mysore. Leaving lot of space for greening with trees was part of the concept..

Very small site with major set back regulations as it was part of a large sites upper class area. A coverage of about 100 sq.m was possible. Leaving larger area of Ground Floor unbuilt for landscape, composting, storage and vehicle parking as well as childrens' play, this house when built for two working parents and two school going children, tried to fit in the locality and the site. It was to be most un-intrusive and to hide behind greenery.

The main living floor wih living, dining, kitchen and two bedrooms with toilets and an attic study was all housed at First floor while the entrance level at ground have a small entry space for casual visitors and a guest bed room as well a book store. The ground floor bed room 600 mm below the entry level is a largish room opening to a enclosed garden at rear. A small area of about 15 sq.m at northwest corner is used for composting, rain water harvesting, a sump well , water pump and UPS, rough store and gas cylinder. An open covered space is used as parking and multipurpose space.. A small deck at first floor over the entrance at First Floor and the front green space in Ground floor are used for summer evenings. A water tank, solar water heater are housed over the roof. '
Site plan


Special Feature

Natural diffesed light using a central skylight, all round strip ventilator openings in split level roof ,long windows to light floors make the spaces pleasant and bright with changing moods through out the day. Even in night the house is never in total darkness.

Use of sump wells and overhead tank manages erratic civic water supply.. Rain water harvesting with centrifugal filter use 90 percent of the roof capture. The pavements of drive way with pebbles and local granite slab with gaps percolates rain to the ground. So does green areas.

Mysore's climate is mild. never too hot, nor too cold. Summer temperature could reach 35 degree Celsius and could go up to 38 rarely. Good air circulation and allowing hot air to escape from top could make the building comfortable. The center of the building has the perforated stairs raising up like a chimney with a glass box ventilator on top. This makes the hot air raise and sucks in fresh air at various levels. See section. Even the walls of the bedroom do not reach the ceiling to allow air circulation at higher level. 2.. The roof is a low radiating filler slab with hollow clay blocks and screed concrete on top. This reduces heat by 5 to 8 degree celsus during hight of summer.between external and internal temperature. Cieling fans are used largely for air movement and also because of mosquito menace at summer nights.

The house was designed as cost conscious building. The curtain walls and internal walls are of stabilised mud bricks made at site using the mud from excavation. the openings were of profile steels of very small sections with low quality wood with glazied shutters. Specially designed 3D windows divert air to lower levels and can work with out curtain mostly .The shutter hanging vertically down can prevent breeze letting in rain drops even with heavy winds. . Most cabinetry and some cladding as well as sliding shutters are made of recycled deal wood (pine wood) boxes. The roof is of filler slab with hollow clay hurdis, flooring with traditional clay tiles except in kitchen 9where it had to be changed after 10 years to granite) reduced the cost..

rain water harvesting as said above. Composting of kitchen waste. plantation of trees in available areas. Recycling of wood. reuse of pine wood packing cases.

Mostof the rain falling on the site is either harvested or allowed to percolate down through unpaved stone slab and pebble drive ways and greenery. No kitchen waste or waste paper are sent to municipal collection. they are stored and send to news paper and paper recycle agents.biannually.

Building Material

RCC Frame structure with 8 pillars. RCC fillar slab with hollow clay block fillers. Epecially with smaller ground floor area and largeer main floor at first floor level

concrele foundation for columns.

stabilsed mud blocks, 150 mm thick or 100 mm thick. and recycled wood partition in some paces

profile steel (50mm x 75 mm ) or box section steel frames. Wood shutter frames with glass infill.

150 x 150 mm fired clay tiles. granite in kitchen where clay tiles disintegrated fast.

rough composite plaster with lime and cement in interior parts. Exposed concrete or exposed mud block masonry.

sloped roof with hollow clay block filler slab RCC.

Ferro-cement partitions behind cupboards and in bath rooms.

Energy systems

about 30 nos for anyfitting LED, CFL or incandescent. Mostly CFL and LED used.

5 bulk heads.

4 fans.

No a/c


Solar water heater for bathing. Gas cooking system.

None so far. UPS system can be recharged with solar photo voltaic system in due course. And can be linked to public grid now as Government is allowing it now. The total consumption is about 180-200 units (kwh) per month.
Solar water heater

Lessons Learned

Tight careful planning can be very effective in making life comfortable. It also reduces dependence on forced ventilation. creating vertical volumes reduces heat gain from roof. Skylights and ventilators mkes the spaces bright and airy. exposed stabilised blocks reducs painting costs. mosquito proofing is as important a feature to be added as other comfort features.

Being the owners living here for the three decades. there was no problem in living comfortably except that insect nets were added ten years ago. The spaces are small enough for 2 of the elder people to maintain by themselves. The children have left and they are only visitors once a while.

This building was done in 1984-89 with primary focus on lowering the cost and to be as low embedded energy as possible. Yet comfortable. Stablised Mud Blocks with 5% cement was made with a hand operated ram, Clay block filler slab too was used to reduce cost and heat transfer.. To that extent the building was a pioneer. No special tool for energy analysis was used but for common sense and knowledge of hot air movement. Had tough time in getting contractors and skilled labor to do this. The involvement of the architect at site was too much a cost to be quantified at this point of time 3 decades later.
Filter for rain water harvesting