sulabh swatchh bharat

Monday, 21-January-2019


G V Dasarathi’s 1,500 sqft double-storeyed house is built from Kachra – which translates into trash or discarded material

Among the brick and cement houses that line the city of Bengaluru, one house stands out. It is mostly made from trash. The house, aptly named Kachra Mane (Trash house), attracts visitors throughout the year.
G V Dasarathi’s 1,500sqft double-storeyed house is built from Kachra – which translates into trash or discarded material. But, the house is anything but rubbish! 
As one enters the house, it gives a resort-type feeling with greenery everywhere, fresh air that makes way into the house through large windows and most importantly, the attractive wooden structure of the house.  The house is in the heart of the city – in Sadashivanagar.
 The simplicity and sense of space at this place is quite noticeable. The house is well lit and well ventilated. 
Das says his aim is to minimise the impact of the trash on the environment and thus his Kachra Mane was designed to reflect this principle. He is a firm believer in four R’s – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Rethink. 
“Reduce – to buy less and use less; Reuse – to use elements of a discarded item again; Recycle – use energy to change the physical properties of the material, to make something new. Our house has massive amounts of Reduce and Reuse, no Recycle. We have also used massive amounts of a fourth R – Rethink,” he explains.
Kachra Mane was built ten years ago but it looks as good as new. Das explains, “Less than 5 per cent of the total sand used in regular construction has been utilised in the construction of the house. We cause enormous environmental damage when we extract sand from riverbeds and must reduce our use of sand in construction.”
Use of cement and steel in the house is reduced by almost 90 per cent. The roof is made of bamboo-corrugated sheets. The walls are mainly made of wood and glass that keep out rain and usher in light. The wood comes from packing crates and the glass is from old demolished buildings. No tiles are used anywhere in the house. 
The only flooring throughout the house - including bathrooms – is made of cement.“The roof structure, windows, staircase, kitchen cupboards and bookshelves are made from discarded pine wood packing crates. They are just coated with linseed oil, and there’s no paint or other chemicals used,” says Das.
Bathroom fittings – including the commode - are old materials. “The bathroom fittings are all of a luxury brand, and would have cost a lakh, but I got them at less than 10 per cent of the cost,” he adds.
The chairs and the dining table too are used ones. The kitchen sinks too are from demolished buildings. The kitchen has natural draught instead of an exhaust fan. The electrical appliances – refrigerator, washing machine, microwave oven — are all used stuff. There are no grills on the windows because Das wanted to avoid using steel.
The house was built in just seven months, with the cost being less than half of what a ‘regular’ house would cost. Das is a mechanical engineer and runs his own firm. Also, every day, he cycles to his office in Jayanagar.
Over 25,000 people, including architecture students, enthusiasts, those who want to pick up ideas from the house – have visited his house, over the years. Das welcomes them all with a warm smile. “Even if they adopt a small thing and make a difference to the environment, it is indeed a big thing,” he says.
Laila and Shakuntala, the family dogs have been adopted off the street. Squirrels and birds make their home in gaps under the bamboo corrugated sheets. Monkeys, bats, butterflies and a lot of insects are daily visitors too. “It’s like living in a zoo”, Das says.
Das has a 20,000-litre tank for rainwater, which reduces consumption of corporation water to half. Also, they have a grey water system to reuse water from wash basins, bath area, washing machine and kitchen sinks. The reused water is let out into the garden. Solid waste is segregated — the wet waste goes into a compost pit in the garden and the dry waste is given to a rag picker.