In the wilderness of Wayanad, Kerala, Earthitects has created a haven for nature lovers. Luxury residences, spread across plots of 26,500 sq. ft. each, have a built-up area of7320 sq. ft per home. It’s an ambitious 15 residence-project by CEO and Principal Architect of Earthitects, Ar.George E.Ramapuram, on a total of 13 acres of land. As of now only two villas stand completed.
Describing themselves as Architects of the Earth, Earthitects built ecologically conscious homes, keeping in mind the surrounding land.
The philosophy of creating ‘around’ nature rather than ‘on’ it, has been the guiding light for the design. “When a tree or boulder comes in the way of the building, the design is modified to go around the existing tree or boulder and accommodate it to be a part of our natural design,” says Ramapuram.
The stone lodges are spread across sloping forested hillsides, inspired by classic mountain lodges and a native design aesthetic. The challenge of constructing the dwelling on a slope was overcome by designing the villa on three distinct levels. The first and second levels house the spacious residence, the third level comprises a deck with an infinity pool surrounded by lily ponds. Each level has a gorgeous, unobstructed view of the wilderness.
An all-natural approach was used with the materials, wooden flooring, random-rubble walls, cobblestone pathways, log rafters, clay roof tiles, eucalyptus poles in the ceiling, lapotra granite for counters and stone deck floors adorn the home. Every element of the villas was made on-site including the switchboards, joinery, kitchen counters, shower tray and cabinetry. While most of the natural materials were sourced from the resources around the site itself, other materials were sourced locally to promote Wayanad. To ensure no resource goes to waste, the boulders that were removed for construction were used to form random-rubble walls, while leftover teakwood went into making joinery and skirtings.
A medley of stone and wood, the bedrooms are decorated with rich teak floors and an accent wall with rough-textured stone contrasts the warm wood all around. Attention to detail being high, even the switchboards at the Wayanad villas meld into nature, being constructed from up-cycled wood, in an organic shape.
One of the highlights of the home is undoubtedly the bathroom set amidst a courtyard. The organic stone shower tray is surrounded by lush foliage and natural boulders. The eucalyptus poles in the ceiling bring about a wondrous interplay of light and shadow. The brass bathroom fixtures add yet another element of charm to the rustic stone wall.
The homes come equipped with organic vegetable gardens, bee-houses to conserve and protect the native bees, and carefully selected butterfly-friendly plants that welcome indigenous butterfly varieties. Earthitects afforested the entire site with over 8000 endemic species of trees.
Residents can not only enjoy the flora, but also the fauna in the surrounding area. Birds like the crimson-fronted barbet, Malabar hornbill, white-cheeked barbet, orange minivet, suffuse the landscape. Fruit trees like the avocado, star fruit, cherry, mosambi, Malabar plum mean you may be surprised with some delicious ingredients to cook with at the villa.