Project Description

As the name suggests, this house was designed to bring in the presence of the five elements of nature , Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space into the building. Water bodies, internal courtyard, large windows, use of natural materials etc connects the inhabitants to these elements. The house is a zero energy development with closed loop systems for Building materials, Processes and Technologies just like nature.

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City scale
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Building Details


New Building Project

1190 m²


929 m²

725 m²

725 m²

Eligible for IGBC Platinum Rating. (The residence is a part of a residence cum office project and hence has shared services. The rating is on hold as it is planned to be carried out for the entire site which is a housing layout.)

INR 82 lakhs

INR 8827



Project Team

Manasaram Architects


Gurudayal Saran, Aditi Constructions

Mr Naushad, Dr Yogananda, Ar. Neelam Manjunathh

Neelam Manjunath

Ar. Neelam Manjunath – Brief Profile Ar. Neelam Manjunath is an architect, planner, scientist, activist and theoretician, with two graduate degrees, in Science from REI Degree College, Dayalbagh, Agra and in Architecture, from Govt. College of Architecture, Lucknow in 1987. Her education, however, is much wider and includes training in several skills related to sustainable architecture, Media Architecture and Charrettee Training from Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, as well as a PG Diploma in Theology from Dayalbagh University, Agra. She is a practicing architect since 1991, currently based in Bangalore. Her architecture is distinguished for the use of low energy materials and technologies with special emphasis on Bamboo. Awards and Accomplishments: • She has won the prestigious Sir M Vishwesvaraya Prize (2005) for innovative use of bamboo. • The IIA-Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Award (2005) for Excellence in Rural Architecture, for design of a residential school at Gandsi, Hassan Dist. Karnataka. • 2nd Runner-up in the Architectural Competition held for "Providing Architectural design concept for Police Bhawan to be constructed for KSRP at koromangala, Bangalore, in view of KSRP Golden Jubilee Year". • The WAC- World Architecture Community awards in 2013, for “Bamboo Symphony” • Lafarge Invention awards(2011) for “Bamboo Symphony” • Nomination for Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013 for her office project “Bamboo Symphony”. • Her project “House of Five Elements” was shortlisted for World Architecture News Awards, 2013. • Archi Design Award for Best Design in Sustainable Projects, 2013 for “Bamboo Symphony” • Shortlisted for NDTV awards under ‘Social’ Category for “Cocoon- Educational Pavilion” and “Guest house-ICT DEI” and under ‘Environmental Design’ for “Bamboo Symphony”. • Her work has been published widely in over 10 languages in over 19-20 countries and she has presented her works in several national and international forums and conferences. Professional Associations: • Founder and Managing Trustee - Centre for Green Building Materials and Technology, Bangalore. CGBMT is actively involved in R&D of innovative building materials and technologies and organises Eco-literacy workshops and training programs frequently. CGBMT is running BAT, “Bamboo Application Technology” courses from academic session 2011-12 from its Bangalore centre in distance education mode with Dayalbagh University, Agra for graduates, supervisors and artisans. • Member, Technical Committee, World Bamboo Congress, 2015 • Co-Convener and Co-Chair of Technical Committee, International Bamboo Conclave,2014 • Executive Committee member- Bamboo Society of India Her passion for sustainable architecture and the use of bamboo as a sustainable material reflects in all her works of architecture.

A.R. Shivakumar Professor, Rainwater harvesting

Dr. Yogananda Professor, Compressed stabilized mud blocks

CDD Society, DEWATs Waste water treatment

Climate Analysis

Bangalore has a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Due to its high elevation, Bangalore usually enjoys a more moderate climate throughout the year, although occasional heat waves can make summer somewhat uncomfortable. The coolest month is December with an average low temperature of 15.4 °C (59.7 °F) and the hottest month is April with an average high temperature of 36 °C (97 °F). Winter temperatures rarely drop below 12 °C (54 °F), and summer temperatures seldom exceed 37 °C (99 °F). Bangalore receives rainfall from both the northeast and the southwest monsoons and the wettest months are September, October and August, in that order. The summer heat is moderated by fairly frequent thunderstorms,

Rel humidity
Sky cover

Design Approach

The presence of the five elements of nature: water, air, earth, fire and space in a building results in the development and balance of all the three faculties of man, i.e. the psychological, physical and spiritual. This was the defining principle of the design. The house is an improvised example of the traditional Kannada home “Thotti Mane”, with an internal courtyard.

The house has an E-W orientation due to site dimensions and spaces are arranged according to the day lighting and ventilation required. The existing slope was transformed into a landscaped waterfall directing the rainwater into the lotus pond.

The house is spread along the east-west direction, facing north. A two-level open to sky courtyard with a waterbody - Thotti, open kitchen and dining with a double height enlivens the environment of the house. The interior spaces seamlessly merge into each other producing a calm relaxing ambiance. The house has high ceilings and ventilators throughout the house to ensure enough draft for thermal comfort continuously.


Special Feature

Large windows, increased floor heights and use of skylights ensure optimum daylight.

A Rainwater Harvesting sump of 75,000 ltrs DEWATS system has been used for water treatment and 500 ltr/day of recycled water is used for gardening and flushing after treatment. Water bodies within and outside the building are fed by Rainwater. Water saving fixtures for taps.

Ventilators on each window and door ensure cross ventilation of spaces. Use of terracotta, filler slabs, mud blocks and stone in the building keeps the interiors cool. The presence of an internal courtyard with a water body maintains humidity and enhances the comfort levels.

Local, recyclable natural materials like bamboo, stone, mud blocks, terracotta and local labour are used for construction, making it extremely cost effective.

Mud blocks made from excavated soil are also used for filler slabs, reducing the amount of concrete required. Use of locally available variety of Bamboo and stone for construction. Collection of rain water. Treatment of waste water Solar PV for power Solar water heater for hot water Daylighting Natural ventilation

A large 3500 sqft double curve shell roof on all bamboo support is a novelty in the building. It lends the interiors a very pleasant and cool ambiance.

Building Material

Bamboo poles as columns and beams and bamboo splits for under structure for the shell roof; composite load bearing and frame structure with filler slab for intermediate slabs; Stone and mud block masonry and bamboocrete wall for interior partitions and first floor walls

Concrete foundation columns for Masonary foundation for Compressed stabilized earth block masonry walls. Bamboo column has 2' x 2' x 2.5' concrete footing with ms pipe at the center to anchor the bamboo to the footing.

Load bearing compressed stabilized earth block masonry. Prefab Bamboo-crete walls for partitions.

All doors are wooden. Windows with wood frame, glass panels and louvers for ventilation. All wood used is certified wood bought from auctions of the forest department

Granite flooring for living room and terrazzo, oxide, marble flooring for bedrooms; Bamboo flooring for informal living, Son's bedroom, Staircase and Stair room flooring with waste wood

Lime wash for all the mud and bamboo crete walls for the interiors; Bedroom interiors with PEP finish; Bamboo members finished with Touchwood coat. Exteriors are exposed mudblocks with silicon waterproof coat or lime wash.

Filler slabs with mud blocks for flat roofs. A 3500 sq ft lightweight double curve concrete shell roof with a span of 8.5m-10m and length of over 45m is supported by bamboo columns and beams. The roof itself is reinforced with a bamboo-split mat. A Tarpaulin painted on one side is above this split bamboo mat, acting as a water proofing member. Hollow stabilised compressed mud blocks made from excavated soil have been used for filler slabs, reducing the amount of concrete required. They have been used in the particular design for thermal and acoustical comfort, and it has worked successfully. Bamboo splits mat over round bamboo beams and columns for under structure of the shell roof.

The house is a modern rendition of a traditional Kannada house incorporating the solar passive elements.

Energy systems

31 CFL bulbs, 34 LED bulbs

6 CFL bulbs, 4 LED bulbs

5 ceiling fans, one in each bedroom. 1 pedastal fan (55W) for living room

No air conditioning used

No lifts

Energy saving controls for artificial lighting

1 kW supply from Solar panel. Solar water heater
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Lessons Learned

The house has been used for various experiments with natural and low energy building materials and Construction technologies. Bamboo crete walling is used effectively for partitions. The unique 45m long double shell roof uses Bamboo-split mat and Bamboo fiber reinforced concrete, new technologies that have stood the test. This huge roof rests on Bamboo supports, proving the strength of Bamboo. It could be used for large constructions like stadiums, community halls, etc

The house feels very peaceful and welcoming like a temple after a long stressful day out. It feels cool in the summer and warm in the winters. The natural light, ventilation, vegetation, water features gives it an atmosphere of a peaceful idyllic resort.

The house is an example of a high end contemporary home with low end materials and traditional values at extremely competent cost without any compromises.