Chuzhi is a residential project located in Shoolagiri, Tamil Nadu, India. The house was designed by Wallmakers, an architecture firm that focuses on utilizing mud and waste products as the key building materials for their projects. This way, they produce architecture that is both functional and alluring. The project is a two-bedroom, open-plan residence. Its minimalist design complements the lush site and celebrates its beauty.
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The house is located in a gated community called Sanctity Ferme, in an obscure plot at the edge of the site. The grounds are characterized by dense vegetation, large trees and a steep, rocky topography, which made it a challenge for the designers to intervene. Nevertheless, the architects created a form that integrates beautifully with the landscape without sacrificing inhabitant comfort or aesthetics.
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“Chuzhi” is the Malayalam word for “whirlpool.” This sheds light on the project’s form. The spirals encompass the three large tamarind trees on the plot. These swirls of precast poured debris earth are supported by bottle beams. These structural components are made from over 4,000 discarded plastic bottles. To further maximize sustainable materials, the wood floor is made from pieces of reclaimed wood that have been pieced together.
One of the primary design intentions of the project is an immersion into the lush and rocky landscape. As such, the spirals begin as walls at the subterranean level and swirl upwards to form the roof. These walls emerge from the subterranean rock bed, which tucks the project into a pocket of the earth, giving residents a sense of being grounded and safe. Meanwhile, the roof is made of glass to further enhance the feeling of living under the tree canopies.
Besides a connection to nature within the living spaces, the swirling roof structure also serves as an opportunity to interact with the site. The roof forms a seating area that wraps around one of the tamarind trees for shade and views.
Through this project, the architects create a successful home that creates harmony between inhabitants and the site. They do this through the use of locally-sourced and recycled building materials, a visual and tactile connection to nature and by ensuring that the surrounding landscape thrives despite human intervention.
Photography by Syam Sreesylam