The house is designed to allow adequate light and cross-ventilation. Natural textures, warm tones, with space for individual expression, make each house unique.“Although we limited the residential designs, we encouraged owner participation very early in the design process. This gave each of them opportunity to personalize spaces while we were able to ensure that overall, the units blended well with each other architecturally. Be it an antique wood panel which became the window pane of a courtyard or teak columns of a verandah extension, we have worked with every owner to make it ‘their home’,” says Natasha.Owner participation was encouraged in each house, which meant personalising each space to blend with the architecture.For Anuradha Prasad, another owner at Good Earth Orchard, this was the most attractive proposal.
Wary of highrise apartments, she took a liking to the project because of its low-rise, sprawling design, community approach, and most importantly, the eco-friendliness that it offered. Every house comes ‘green-ready’ with the eco-substantive techniques built into it. The option to plug in and determine the extent of usage rests with the owners. The green methods percolate through the project at many levels.The materials and finishes used are a blend of the natural and the easy-to-maintain. The exteriors use exposed brick and stone, while stone, clay and wood are used for the interiors of each house. Woodwork polished with natural enhancers such as cashew-shell nut liquid and linseed oil, gives it a rustic look. Large windows, wide verandahs, thermally conducive materials and hot-air channels reduce the necessity for artificial light and ventilation. Provisions for tapping photovoltaic panels for power and solar heaters have also been made.
Common areas and streets use energy efficient lighting such as CFL and LED.Decentralized waste-water treatment and an efficient garbage-disposal system ensure waste management. Rain water harvesting and recharge, water recycling and reusing water for gardens mark the management of water. Going beyond manicured lawns, each residence has plants that are indigenous, edible and have medicinal value.A conscious effort has been made to integrate traditional craft person’s in carpentry, stonework and masonry in the building process.Orchard-meadow.While all these are significant efforts towards sustainability, their real measure as an adoptable model is yet to be proven. Says Natasha, ” At Good Earth, our belief is that communities generate a strong sense of belonging while also enabling a collective sense of security and responsibility for nature. We foresee a future where many such communities are collectively responsible and keep growing, each germinating into a new bio-rich eco-zone.”