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Life & Work
Revathi & Vasanth Kamath are known as the pioneers of mudhouse architecture in India and outside. The man-wife team was responsible for bringing local architecture into mainstream and making it fashionable while retaining its essence and soul. They applied their social and environmental sensitivity to their designs, not to say, their unique creativity that was inspired by their close interactions with rural folks and their environment.
Both architects were products of reputed architecture colleges. Vasanth studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and Revathi was an alumnus of School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi. Together, they formed the Kamath Design Studio and there really was no stopping them after that. They doled out one diverse and awe-inspiring project after the other. The Anandgram Project, that looked at the rehabilitation of slum dwellers, Jindal Steel Gate, The Evolving Home, Gnostic Center, Jivashram Animal Shelter.
Revathi also won the WADE Asia award for Sustainability and the Aga Khan award. Two of the many she had under her belt.
Jindal Steel Gate
Van Bhoj came to Revathi and Vasanth as a ravaged mining quarry. The barren chunk of land was just perfect to carry out the sustainability and design experiments the couple had in mind but couldn’t do so before due to the constraints of commissioned projects. Everything that the house was going to be built with, came from the site itself. The mud, the stones. Very soon, the land started coming back to life with plants and trees that Revathi planted with her own hands. The little water bodies got filled up with Rainwater that was channeled into them. In less than 5 years, a mini-forest stood on the land that was once nothing but dust and stones. They went on to stay in this temple of sustainability for 25 years, until their deaths in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
They created a legacy for all future sustainability enthusiasts with the many ideas they incorporated at Van Bhoj. Starting with building a traditional mudhouse to creating a forest of native trees the duo went on to also create water conservation systems like rainwater and greywater harvesting, groundwater recharge. The house, being built with a natural and porous material like mud, remains naturally cool in summers and does not require any artificial cooling. Similarly, mud also acts as an insulator which means the house also keeps relatively warm in winters.
We now open the doors to the legacy of two geniuses. A gift from two pioneers to the younger generation, with a message to preserve and conserve our rich traditional knowledge and wisdom as well as harmonious living with Nature. It awaits. To share the wealth of lost traditions it carries in its heart. Feast your eyes and soul on Van Bhoj.