Our Process

At GoodEarth we took a conscious decision to explore alternate architecture and development. We took the route less trod upon and turned it into a market reality. Though the passion and ideological framework kept us alive, we did not want to make our explorations superficial. Our journey thus far has delivered many insights into our future processes and planning. A green or sustainable business needs to think beyond numbers and take conscious business decisions with an awareness of the impact of such decisions on the lives of people, ecology, culture and humanity at large with a sense of responsibility and care.


Our Approach to design is…
To achieve an appropriate sustainable architecture.

The very act of building is an act of depleting the environment, and destroys the habitats of other species. The challenge is to minimize this impact, and at the same time create spaces that will allow diversity. The birds, snakes, flowers, trees and open spaces are as important as the built and apart from the ecological role they play, they also impact human emotions and health. Sustainability, as an idea and concept is questioned, as is the value of “green” as it is understood by the world today. For us, green technology comes after green design - one does not look for green solutions to problems that are created by an insensitive design.

To work with respect for land and nature.

The intention is to conserve and rejuvenate existing features like water bodies, streams, indigenous trees, which will also create awareness. In the planning, the unbuilt spaces take precedence over the built. The landscape forms are intentionally kept organic, to break the lines of the built form. The forms and behavior of the trees and plants are used to create spaces in the landscape. The emphasis is on native species and creating an interactive landscape, which creates bio diversity and reflecting sometimes forgotten cultural values. The spaces are oriented with respect to the path of the sun and with an understanding of how the wind blows. Increasing the soft surfaces and planning with courtyards, also reduces the heat island effect, bring down the ambient temperature.

For human scale, comfort and proportions

While the arguments from both the sides of low rise- high density vs high rise low density abound, we prefer the low rise high density approach, which is more human. As you move further away from the ground, the open space around you becomes something to be “observed” and not interacted with. The smell, the touch and feel do not exist, and it is only a visual. We feel that it is important for each and every person living in the community, to interact with the land. Even in our apartments, the effort has been to reduce the effect of the height by creating sky gardens and terraces, which change the experience. The choice of materials and techniques are a balance of energy, aesthetics and cost. Minimizing the use of high energy materials and innovating with the natural material is the way forward.

The Architecture advocates comfort without opulence, not forgoing the fact that our work and life is a celebration of nature and earth.

The Spaces respond to the requirements, but encourage multi use, and are culture sensitive. The forms respond to the needs of function, material and climate. They are kept simple as far as possible, enhancing scale and proportion. They prompt values of conservation, through adequate light and ventilation, and economy of design. The use of terraces at various levels is an integral part of most designs, as serves as an open space, which flows out. They connect the indoors to the outdoors, yet leaving room for privacy. In larger terraces it is possible to add gazebos, which add value to the overall space. Parapet walls designed with a balance of privacy and openness add character to the form. As verandahs are used as transition spaces, windows or doors overlooking them need to be detailed carefully. A combination of fixed glass and open-able shutters, works well for most climates.

Verandahs as transitions between the interior and the exterior are an important element of the design, and we have experimented with their proportions and scale, to create verandahs which serve as entries, others that work for dining and still others for lounging. Protecting the interior spaces from direct light and heat, they work best in this function on the west and south of the building in South India. Balconies also speak to the open spaces, some cheerfully to be perched on, while others rich in their detail, allowing one to relax, work or connect to the outdoors. Expanding the interior space and adding character to the external view, they are fun to play with. Bay windows, which enhance and extend the spatial quality of any room, are integrated into the design. We have explored a few variations in the design of these windows and observed how they impact the experience and use of the space. Bay windows with a wall at the front for privacy and windows at the sides, work well to ensure privacy and expand the space in the room.

Natural light and ventilation is planned through adequate doors and windows, skylights and jaalis. Windows or openings in the stairwells or near the skylights, help the hot air to escape, and keep the entire house well ventilated. Skylights over courtyards and stairwells create a beautiful quality of light within the home, if the proportion of the skylight is appropriate. Very large ones can trap heat, and very small ones insignificant. They contribute in a big way towards making the home bright and airy. Small windows which open into the stairwell of the house are also good solutions for cross ventilation within the home.

Art and craft are to architecture, what poetry is to literature. They are the finer nuances of the language, appealing to our emotions.We make a conscious effort to integrate these crafts and involve the crafts persons in the design and building process. Many details, specific to the material and craft, are designed and implemented by them. This challenges the craft to engage with contemporary contexts, and lets it evolve.For us, human resource takes a priority over material resource, and care of the labor force is an important element in the building process.The intention has been to work with aesthetics that are honest in their expression of the materials and techniques used. We believe that blending traditional materials and craft, with contemporary industrialized products is the way forward. It is a reflection of our modern culture today, and the two must evolve and innovate together as newer patterns of living emerge and create a new language for aesthetics.

The challenge for traditional materials and skills is to adapt their responses to the contemporary requirements and materials. For industrialized products, it is to be able to innovate how they are used, to be functional and yet appealing. Reinventing aesthetics and working towards this evolving style when one operates in a market driven scenario is sometimes difficult. The tendency is to relate to the “traditional” elements and lose sight of the intention. This has been our biggest challenge. The value of building as a craft and art, has been steadily eroding, as traditional skills are not passed on to the next generation, and also do not adapt to the newer materials and applications. The artisans have stopped valuing their skill and degrade themselves to mere “labor”. They do not aspire to pursue their craft, as there is no value for it, and dream of a different life.

This is visible in most of the constructions, which is an industry, which is promoting “skills” vs. “craft”, not developing the two together. We need to reclaim this pride in the crafts, as apart from architects and engineers, the masons, carpenters, plumbers and electricians, need to collaborate and stand proudly at par with each other. The opposite is also true, of architects and engineers lacking hands on, practical skills and a feel for the material and craft.

“We hope that the future of architecture in India, imbibes and integrates, the rich craft traditions in our country, with newer material and applications.”