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Designing the future

Aparupa Saha & Kirti Dvivedi

The design encapsulates the concepts- Off the Grid, Sustainability and Efficient Usability of space into one single small home. Living off the grid is about sustainable living, reducing the resources being consumed, and in fact, producing more resources than being used. The design presented tries to showcase a home which is not dependent on public supplies and can survive independently when the need arises. The site has been located in Tangra, Kolkata, West bengal. Tangra is a forgotten place, or perhaps a mis-place, for it lies on low land, divided in two by a turbid canal. Tangra is prone to blazing fire, every year, due to illegal electricity, therefore, creating something off the grid is the need of the hour for the locals of Tangra.
The exterior form and interior zoning are inter-connected with types and usability frequency of the space along with extra measures to amalgamate sustainable elements in the design. The project showcases the idea of sustainable living through the incorporation of equipped with vernacular and sustainable materials and practices in the design and construction. The design encompasses the idea of living Off-Grid through the addition of the solar panels, rainwater harvesting, small-scale plantation, economy generation, natural ventilation and water treatment within the small space in an efficient manner. The home tries to generate the concept of flexible and efficient space. The ground floor is being used for several service oriented and economic activities, small spaces are being used multifunctionally with the help of flexible furniture and privacy is being provided through space segregation.
The choice of materials for the project have been based on the concept of sustainability, longevity, reusability, strength and low cost. The formwork is made of Steel H beams, the exterior wall panel is formed of Recycled Plastic Sheets while the interior panelling is made of Recycled Wood Panel. The design incorporated rotatable terracotta louvers as a ventilation element to get the air for circulation but keep away the water, dust and debris from entering. The home has sloped roof to allow better system for rainwater harvesting and also allows stack effect to take place through the retractable skylight. Several openable and non-openable cut-outs are incorporated in the design through windows, sky lights and infills. The project design aims at creating small, sustainable, low-cost homes that can survive Off the Grid, hence Designing for Future.

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