Baker studied architecture in Birmingham and graduated in 1937, aged 20, in a period of political unrest for Europe.During the Second World War, he served in the Friends Ambulance Unit in China and Burma.He worked as an architect for an international and interdenominational Mission dedicated to the care of those suffering from leprosy. He focused on converting or replacing asylums once used to house the ostracized sufferers of the disease - "lepers".He Used indigenous architecture and methods of these places as means to deal with his once daunting problems.
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 walls.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 create intricate patterns of light and shadow.
“I never build for classes of people – highincome, middle income or lowincome groups, tribals or fishermen. I onlybuild for a Matthew, a Bhaskaran, a Muneer or a Sankaran.”-Laurie Baker Laurence Wilfred "Laurie" Baker (2 March 1917 – 1 April 2007)
Baker studied architecture in Birmingham and graduated in 1937, aged 20, in a period ofpolitical unrest for Europe.During the Second World War, he served in the Friends Ambulance Unit in China andBurma.worked as an architect for an international and interdenominational Mission dedicated to thecare of those suffering from leprosy.focused on converting or replacing asylums once used to house the ostracized sufferers of thedisease - "lepers".Used indigenous architecture and methods of these places as means to deal with his oncedaunting problems.
SKETCES BY LAURIE BAKER Baker always carried his home-made diary fashioned out of old pieces of paper from envelopes and other waste plain paper wherever he went. Bakers ability to sketch was one of the main reason he never learnt Indian languages since whenever people didnt understand English he would whip out his diary and scribble a quick sketch to explain what he meant.
• 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 Year• 1992: UNO Habitat Award & UN Roll of HonourAwards
CONCEPTS AND STYLE OF BAKERDesigning and building low cost, high quality, beautiful homesSuited 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 homesinterior and create intricate patterns of light and shadow.Bakers designs invariably have traditional Indian sloping roofs and terracotta Mangalore tileshingling with gables and vents allowing rising hot air to escape curved walls to enclose morevolume at lower material cost than straight walls. Baker was often seen rummaging through salvage heaps looking for suitable buildingmaterials, door and window frames. Bakers architectural method is of improvisation.Initial drawings have only an idealistic link to the final construction, with most of theaccommodations and design choices being made on-site by the architect himself.
‘Low cost or `cost reduction is not only concerning economy. Most modern buildingmaterials are manufactured articles (like burnt bricks or steel or glass or cement). Theirrespective costs are one important consideration but just as important is the question of howmuch energy (or fuel) was used in their manufacture.The use of local materials is an example of economy because there are no transport costs.These styles show that people have discovered that there is a right way and a wrong way ofputting materials together so that they are strong and durable. A wall, for example, is notnecessarily stronger because it is thicker. The bonding together of a few stones is muchstronger than the heaping together of a lot of stones.
Filler slabs Filler slabs employ replacing un-productive concrete by a Filler material which reduces the weight of the slab and also the cost by reducing the amount of concrete used. Also, since the weight of the slab is thus reduced, lesser steel is required for reinforcement, further reducing the cost.ArchesThe arch is significant because it provides astructure which eliminates tensile stresses inspanning an open space. All the forces areresolved into compressive stresses. This is usefulbecause several of the available building materialssuch as stone, cast iron and concrete can stronglyresist compression but are very weak when tension,shear or torsional stress is applied to them.
DomesA dome can be thought of as an arch which hasbeen rotated around its central vertical axis. Thusdomes, like arches, have a great deal of structuralstrength when properly built and can span largeopen spaces without interior supports.
UNI Group Housing, Vasundhra, Sehwag International School, Jhajjar,Ghaziabad HaryanaFarmers Training Center for P.N.B., Nimrana,Rajasthan
Laurie Baker Building CentrePromoted by HUDCO and DSIB, Govt. of DelhiEkta Vihar, Sector - 6, R.K. Puram, New Delhi - 110022
Rat trap bondRat trap bond brick masonry is an alternative tonormal English bond masonry walls by which 15%of cost can be reduced without comprimising thequality, strength and appearances.
Bricks to me are like faces. All of them are made of burnt mud, but they vary slightly in shapeand colour. I think these small variations give tremendous character to a wall made ofthousands of bricks, so I never dream of covering such a unique and characterful creation withplaster, which is mainly dull and characterless. I like the contrast of textures of brick, of stone,of concrete, of wood.We still do not see that the most important industry in the country is the building industry. Werefuse to see that it can absorb every type of worker from the highly-skilled scientist to thecompletely non-skilled labourer. It can solve a large area of our unemployment problem, and,furthermore, it can start immediately, if we will it, as no other industry can.My observation is that vernacular architecture almost always has good answers to all ourproblems. In every district, wherever you go, the people themselves take an active part inmaking their houses. Now, for whatever reasons, they have lost their skills, and need to lookoutside for help.
HAMLET IT is a Bakers home in Trivandrum.Take a closer look at this remarkable and unique house built on five levels on a plot ofland along the slope of a rocky hill, with limited access to water: conditions most peoplewould never dream of building anything much less their homes under! However Baker’sgenius has created a wonderful home for his family.
The Center For Development Studies Centre for Development Studies Ulloor, Trivandrum, 1971 the most important project of baker’s career. The significance of this assignment had lessto do with size and budget, than with the idea of exhibiting a range of concepts applied tobuildings of varying functions, scale and dimensions. An area of nine acres accommodates administrative offices, a computer centre, an amphi-theatre, a library, classrooms, housing and other components of an institutional design.
Here, at the summit, the library dominates the centre with a seven-storey tower; theadministrative offices and classrooms are scattered in a randomness determined by eachones position on the slope. However, the buildings remain tightly connected throughcorridors that snake upwards to the library along breezy walkways and landscaped courts.
Plan Of A School (2 alternatives)This plan is contained within a 30 foot square structure. It can be This plan contains both a teachers room and a mini stage. By re-used where only one teacher is available for dealing with a small aligning the seating - all can face towards the stage for assembly ornumber of children of different ages. This structure is not dramas or music etc.uncommon in remote and hilly areas. It is in such regions whereeducation facilities, including the school building itself, are missing ortotally inadequate.Seating is indicated in the plan merely to show how the group caneither be taught (or act) collectively or be separated into 3 or 4classes.
Loyola Chapel and Auditorium Sreekarayam, 1971 The Loyola complex contains a high school and a post-graduatecomplex, both sharing a common chapel and an auditorium. It was herethat Bakers skills of cost-reduction met their greatest challenge, as itrequired a seating capacity of one thousand. In order to increase thelateral strength of the high brick wall, without the introduction of anysteel or concrete, Baker devised a wide cavity double-wall with cross-bracing brick.
The total covered area of the chapel and auditorium and the gallery is approximately 930 square meters. The cost in 1970-71, including the furniture and appurtenances, lighting and sanitation was kept within the original gift sum of 1.75 lakh rupees.1. Chapel nave2. Sanctuary3. Narthex4. Sacristy5. Chapel6. Terrace7. Auditorium8. Stage9. Green room10. Toilet
Both the walls were pierced with a continuousfloor-to-roof pattern of jails, so that the chapel wasadequately, though somewhat mysteriously, lit-andventilated. Despite its tall proportions, theacoustics of the hall were remarkable-the exposedsurfaces and the open patterns of brickworkcontrolling the reverberations.
Loyola Chapel and Auditorium: Estimate of Cost Rate Quantity Figure Say Excavation and refilling cu.ft. 0.06 16,000 960 1,000 Concrete foundations 1:4:8 cu.ft. 1.20 1,900 2,280 2,500 DPC:CM 1:3 crude oil 5% wt c. sq.ft. 0.30 560 168 200 RR masonry in 1:5 cm cu.ft. 0.95 3,360 3,192 3,300 first class bricks in 1:5 cm cu.ft. 1.80 16,100 28,980 29,000 4.5" brick in 1:4 cm sq.ft. 0.75 1,250 938 1,000 ditto query extra sq.ft. 0.75 1,600 1,200 1,500 flooring 4"1:4:8 plus c.finish sq.ft. 0.65 6,840 4,480 4,500 slab floor c. finish 500 0.5" cm plaster sq.ft. 0.22 11,860 2,609 3,000 3 coat whitewashing sq.ft. 0.03 11,860 355 500I Supercem 3 coats (2 and primer) sq.ft. 0.30 11,860 3,560 4,000 RCframe cu.ft. 11.00 8,500 8,500 RCslabs cu.ft. 8.00 2,560 20,480 20,500 Doors 5,000 Windows 500 Chapel ceiling 10,000 Auditorium ceiling " 7,500Roof weathering 3" jelly tiles etc. sq.ft. 1.50 1,150 1,725 2,000AC roofing sq.ft. 1.50 6,050 9,075 9,000Steel trusses cu.wt. 115. 25,000Sanitation and drains 2,500Electrical installation 10,0003% contingencies 4,425 4,500Furniture for chapel 18,000Total Rs 1,70,000
Baker on Laurie Baker Architecture’ -Columbus is reputed to havediscovered America, but a large number of people had been already living therewithout the publicity of his discovery for a very long time. Similarly, when I made myown little personal discoveries, I realised that I had merely chanced to find anextensive set of building systems which were in no way discoveries to more than fivehundred million people! I wanted to make use of this new knowledge in my own work.