Workshop on sustainable architecture

Workshop on sustainable architecture

Are you interested in vernacular architecture and do you wish to explore its potential in creating sustainable architecture for current times?

Well, if you are a fourth or fifth-year student of architecture and wish to get an overview and understanding of the possible as well as existing applications of sustainable vernacular architecture, this might be a course designed for you.

A three-day residential workshop on Sustainable Architecture based on vernacular traditions will be held at the quaint heritage centre of DakshinaChitra on Chennai’s scenic East Coast Road. Architectural students who are preparing for their final year projects may find this workshop useful too.
Indian context

The workshop will be handled by award-winning conservation architect Benny Kuriakose, who has worked under Laurie Baker, and also followed it up with an MA in Conservation Studies from the University of York, UK. “There are certain things not being taught in architectural schools — like sustainable architecture for the Indian scenario.

Even the so called ‘LEED certified’ green buildings end up consuming large reserves of energy. On the other hand, sustainable architecture based on vernacular traditions and designed for climate and material appropriateness can make for a truly effective solution”, says Kuriakose, whose projects include the public buildings at DakshinaChitra, the Banegaon village in Lattur, the Backwater Ripples resort in Kumarakom, etc.

 “Vernacular architecture, can be much comfortable and energy saving, even while allowing for modern requirements,” adds Benny. The workshop is designed on the premise to create solutions appropriate for Indian conditions. Architectural students should be taught to draw from the rich knowledge base and practices of Indian vernacular traditions.

The workshop will begin at 9 am and winds up after dusk. Besides lectures and case studies, group activities have also been scheduled, as also assignments on development of solutions for specific problems. Modules on fighting global warming, quantifiable sustainable architecture, materials, mass transportation, rainwater harvesting, waste management, designing according to climate, and conservation.

As DakshinaChitra is a centre for living traditions of art, craft and architecture of India, with an emphasis on the traditions of South India, students may also plan to take time for exploring this venue, where vernacular architectural traditions of South India have been showcased. DakshinaChitra is located 25 kilometres south of Chennai, on the East Coast Road that leads to Mamallapuram.

The centre also conducts other special architectural workshops for young architects and students. The forthcoming session will be held on February 17, 18 and 19, and timings for the next batch will be announced later. Up to 20 students will be accommodated per batch. The course fee is Rs 3,000, inclusive of accommodation and food. Those interested may apply with their CVs to DakshinaChitra. Students may send a mail to or call 9841011785/9551166889.