Wood, a warm, intimate material has replaced high energy consuming steel and aluminum for doors and windows and is used even for floors in some spaces. Rather than using precious forest trees, recycled wood-from houses that were demolished, from packaging cases, and from plantation timber-was used wherever possible. Wood and clay have been primarily used for the floors-materials that offer better insulation and comfort than synthetic floors and also age beautifully. The roof is insulated using a double layer of concrete and cellulose bitumen sheet thus creating a lighter form and less use of concrete.
The paint used is distemper, which is lead-free and low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).All the homes are designed to offer adequate natural light and cross-ventilation. Large windows, wide verandahs, air channels to release hot air, and thermally conducive materials reduce the necessity for artificial light and ventilation. Rainwater is harvested and the ground water recharged through well spread out percolation channels across the property.Rina Sen, a resident, recalls the participatory nature by which the architects designed her home, remarking that it always felt like interacting with family rather than a corporate developer–one of the many reasons PalmGrove manages to nurture an intimate sense of belonging within the community.
Geeth Gopinath, Photos by Mallikarjun Katakol for Design Today Magazine