Mud House by Sketch Design Studio is a humble tribute to Rajasthan’s Stepwells

Embedded in an arid landscape of Alwar like an oasis of creativity, Sketch Design Studio has designed a farmhouse having rammed earth walls, a thatch roof and criss cross staircase inspired by ancient stepwells.

A single-storey house in Rajasthan set itself apart from any other kind of architectural design as it is characterised by grids of crisscrossing diagonal staircases.The house features two roof terraces that are accessed by staircases that overlap in a similar way. The effect is emphasised by stone roof brackets with matching stepped forms.

According to studio founder Shipra Singhania, local artisanal building techniques and materials have been used throughout the building process in the same form they were being used hundreds of years ago.

A lot of research and inputs from elderly masons have helped gain all the knowledge which has helped towards building this house.

The walls of of the house is made of rammed earth and reclaimed stone which are mounted with pyramid shape thatched roof that tops the building is formed of local wild grasses.In order to reduce the carbon footprints, they have used bagra,a kind of waste left behind in lime kilns after processing limestone instead of cement for setting up the stone masonry.

Criss-crossing staircases lead up to the roof terrace.The pyramidal timber-framed roof creates an aesthetic in the combined living room and kitchen. A central hallway connects these spaces with the two bedrooms and leads out to a patio deck and vegetable garden.

Rammed earth was sourced on site and mixed with lime and fenugreek seeds as natural binders.Edibles like jaggery and a popular Indian medicinal leaf, Neem, were also added to the mix which act as natural insect repellents.

The house has two bedrooms designed to offer shade in summer and others that allow residents to enjoy sun in the winter. Roof cantilevers help to shade windows, while also expanding the size of the roof terraces.The interior furnishings include tawny cane lamps and a daybed made by local artisans.

The architectural prowess inspired from traditional design gave Sketch Design Studio the skillset to design something as cool as ancient Baoris of Rajasthan. The building certainly pays a fitting tribute to these structures through utter reinterpretation in a modern metropolis.

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