(March 2, 1917 – April 1, 2007) British-born Indian
He went to India in 1945 in part as a missionary and
since then lived and worked in India for over 50
. He obtained Indian citizenship in 1989 and resided in
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala.
In 1990, the Government of India awarded him with
the Padma Shri in recognition of his meritorious
service in the field of architecture.
Baker studied architecture in
Birmingham and graduated in 1937,
aged 20, in a period of political unrest
During the Second World War, he
served in the Friends Ambulance Unit
in China and Burma.
worked as an architect for an
international and interdenominational
Mission dedicated to the care of those
suffering from leprosy.
focused on converting or replacing
asylums once used to house the ostracized
sufferers of the disease - "lepers".
Used indigenous architecture and methods
of these places as means to deal with his
once daunting problems.
Baker lived in Kerala with Doctor P.J.
He received great encouragement and
later married his sister
while Laurie continued his
architectural work and research
accommodating the medical needs of the
community through his constructions of
various hospitals and clinics.
Baker sought to enrich the culture in
which he participated by promoting
simplicity and home-grown quality in
His emphasis on cost-conscious
An ideal that the Mahatma expressed
as the only means to revitalize and
liberate an impoverished India
PRINCIPLES FOLLOWED BY
BAKER THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE
Designing and building low cost,
high quality, beautiful homes
Suited to or built for lower-middle
to lower class clients.
Irregular, pyramid-like structures on
roofs, with one side left open and
tilting into the wind.
Brick jali walls, a
perforated brick screen
which utilises natural
air movement to cool the
home's interior and
patterns of light and
Baker's designs invariably have
traditional Indian sloping roofs and
terracotta Mangalore tile shingling
with gables and vents allowing rising
hot air to escape.
Curved walls to enclose more volume
at lower material cost than straight
Baker was often seen rummaging through
salvage heaps looking for suitable building
materials, door and window frames.
Baker's architectural method is of
Initial drawings have only an idealistic link to
the final construction, with most of the
accommodations and design choices being made
on-site by the architect himself
His respect for nature led him to let
the idiosyncrasies of a site inform his
architectural improvisations, rarely is
a topography line marred or a tree
This saves construction cost as well,
since working around difficult site
conditions is much more cost-effective
Baker created a cooling system by
placing a high, latticed, brick wall
near a pond that uses air pressure
differences to draw cool air through
. His responsiveness to never-identical
site conditions quite obviously
allowed for the variegation that
permeates his work.
20-35% Less materials
Economical & Reduced
25-30% Cost Reduction
Energy saving & EcoFriendly compressive
Decorative & Highly
1981: D.Litt conferred by the Royal
University of Netherlands for
outstanding work in the Third World
1983: Order of the British Empire, MBE
1987: Received the first Indian
National Habitat Award
1988: Received Indian Citizenship
1989: Indian Institute of Architects
Outstanding Architect of the Year
1990: Received the Padma Sri
1990: Great Master Architect of the
1993: Sir Robert Matthew Prize for
Improvement of Human Settlements
1994: People of the Year Award
1995: Awarded Doctorate from the
University of Central England
1998: Awarded Doctorate from Sri
2001: Coinpar MR Kurup Endowment
2003: Basheer Puraskaram
2003: D.Litt from the Kerala University
2005: Kerala Government Certificate of
2006: L-Ramp Award of Excellence
Key features of his house are:
All the walls are made of mud bricks.
Timber salvaged from an old boat
One of the other signature elements
of his design includes the use of
circular walls, which use far less
brick than rectangular walls.
addition, when he does use
concrete for a roof, he embeds
chipped or broken terra cotta
roofing tiles into the mixture.
These tiles, which normally would be
thrown away, contribute to the strength
of the roof, allow less of the expensive
concrete to be used, and reduce the
structural load of the building.
He used broken tiles for the outer paved
area of his garden.
The living room, An integration of new
traditional buildings that were being
Baker's innovative use of discarded
bottles, inset in the walls giving a very
good effect of light and creating an
illusion of stained glass.
working place (training).
Classroom & dormitories.
The main house is formed by a simple
three-floor stacking of the pentagon
on nine-inch-thick brick walls
internally each floor divides into the
bedroom, bath and landing
The additional segment on the ground,
forming the living/dining and kitchen, is
structured with bays of half-brick
thickness, alternating wall and wall
Sun light merging
2nd floor bedroom
Severity of environment in which the
Limitation of resources
Conventional architects stayed away from
Dealing with large insular groups, with set
ideas and traditions.
Dealing with cyclones
Area of each unit : 25 sqm
Exposed brickwork and structure
Sloped concrete roof
Openness in design and individual units
offset each other
in the exposed walls
Dealing With Cyclones:
Low sloped roofs and courts serve as
Open walls function to dispel it
Long row of housing replaced by even
Fronting courts catch the breeze and
also get view of sea
Little private rectangle of land in
between houses for drying nets , kids
Provides sleeping lofts within and
adequate space outside for mending
nets and cleaning and drying fish
Solution of Computer
Centre Design Problems
Fitting in naturally and
harmoniously with the
elevations of the twenty
five year old institution
• Using principle of lattice wall planning,
breezeways and built of natural brick and
stone keeping in consideration the
• He proposed a double walled building with
an outer surface of intersecting circles of
• Internal shell fulfilled the constraints
and controls necessary for a computer
• Space between the two walls
accommodated the secondary requirements
for offices and storage areas.
Two storeyed outer wall is stiffened by a series of intersecting circles,