The Pirouette House by Wallmakers is both sensational and sustainable

The Ernakulam-based studio Wallmakers has constructed the rippling spiral brick walls in what is aptly called the ‘Pirouette House’ as a tribute to British-born Indian architect Lawrence Wilfred “Laurie” Baker who was all for reviving regional practices and the use of local materials.

Situated at usually chaotic site in the capital of Kerala, surrounded by other properties, the building stands out due to its commanding pirouette structure, designed as an inward-facing building with spaces arranged around a central courtyard.

Local architecture Wallmakers adopted this technique to create curved walls that lend sturdy structural support and design revives a construction technique that has faded in the sands of time. The studio was established by architect Vinu Daniel in 2007 was named so after its first project, which was a simple compound wall.  

Wallmakers has replicated the bricklaying technique – the rat-trap bond – used by Baker, who created several buildings in Trivandrum that demonstrated a pioneering approach to sustainable and organic architecture. Baker was disposed towards salvaging and reusing waste materials, and for this project metal scaffolding pipes used during the house’s construction were repurposed to form the treads of the main staircase, as well as for screens incorporated into several openings.

Apart from this, the project’s use of kiln-fired brick also intended to give a leg up to local industry that is in danger of collapsing, as construction firms typically favour machine-made brick.

Scaffolding planks were reused to form part of the living room’s floor, and locally sourced cane has been woven around metal poles to create screens and furniture including chairs and a sofa.

The staircase ascends to a landing that provides an informal lounge area. Two further bedrooms, including the main suite, are located on this level, along with a terrace that looks out across the surrounding neighborhood.

The studio has long been focused on creating buildings using natural materials including earth, as well as reusing discarded materials in its low-cost, eco-friendly projects which suggest its outstanding contributions to sustainable architecture and emerging materials, design styles, and building methods.

Photographs: Jino Sam

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