Known as the Gandhi of Architecture, Lawrence Wilfred “Laurie” Baker was very different from the other colleagues of his time. While every other architect back then was moving towards more west-influenced grand buildings, Laurie spent most of his time studying and designing low-cost affordable buildings influenced by the region’s vernacular architecture.
Baker’s prime goal was to make cheap and low-maintenance buildings without compromising on comfort and aesthetics.
His buildings were compared to a loincloth- meaning, although it is vernacular and comfortable, some assumed the they wouldn’t last long. But the very fact that all of his buildings stand tall and strong even today, years after he has passed, is enough evidence to prove these critics wrong.
Interestingly enough, Laurie Baker’s buildings integrated sustainable and energy-efficient methods even before those concepts even arrived in the field of architecture. This makes the British-born architect one of the pioneers in the field.
Laurie often stressed using “common sense” while designing and emphasized that even though the architect is the one designing the building, in the end, it is for the users who will be occupying the space. Every building he built had a set of principles that were always followed.
Laurie Baker never once encouraged extravagance or excessive ornamentation.
Water services, drainage, access, availability of power, fuel, etc. are all important for the users who will be living in the building the architect designs.
No two clients and their families are alike. They come from different regions and are raised in different backgrounds.
While studying the site during the initial phase, the availability and abundance of local materials should also be analyzed.
It is also necessary to study and calculate the energy used in manufacturing, acquiring, and transportation of the materials that are going to be employed in the design.
Cost-efficient materials should not be an important factor only while designing for the poor and non-profits- it should be a lifestyle.
It’s essential to keep your information and knowledge up-to-date.
Be a minimalist; avoid anything that is excess or extravagant.
Laurie Baker always believed that the true meaning of architecture lies in the responsible and prudent use of resources and taking advantage of the characteristics and circumstances that surround the site.
Laurie Baker’s design sketches ranged from working drawings to detailed views and sections based on the need of each project.
With over one thousand projects, Laurie’s works are extensive. But one thing common in all of his works is his intention to create a low-cost and affordable design.
Baker constantly attempted material innovation to complement the needs of each project.
The 10 acre campus is located on a site with a sloping contour, near a residential neighborhood in Trivandrum.
One of the most striking buildings in Trivandrum, the buildings were designed for the restaurant chain of the same name.
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