Earthquake Victims' Rehabilitation, Latur, Maharashtra

As an active member of the Nivara Hakk Welfare Centre (NHWC), a Bombay-based housing rights organization, the architect visited Latur repeatedly in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. Being close to the victims in such difficult times enabled him to evolve houses that met their needs, matched their lifestyles and responded to the contextual environment.

While the materials and construction technique had to be modern and earthquake-resistant, house design needed to be relevant to the lifestyle of the people of the village. The plan, therefore, derives from local, traditional house layouts and the cultural ethos of the place. Here, verandahs and open spaces are considered assets.

The rooms develop around the open-to-sky angans and face opposite directions, but are held together by a verandah. The inner angan relates to the kitchen and houses the toilet. Two separate rooms ensure privacy and keep away the kitchen smoke from the living area. The outer angan constitutes the baithak and a space for storing farm produce.

The houses also form into a cohesive cluster, with lanes and bylanes leading to a baithak. The office and balwadi are on either side of this open space.

Structurally, the house is one rigid unit, with RCC foundations and columns joined together by RCC beams and plinth-beams. Sand-fill pits around the foundation and footings allow for horizontal vibration during earthquakes. The roof is an RCC slab with brick parapet walls. The brick and cement mortar masonry walls are also stiffened with adequate reinforcements at courses. The walls are painted in traditional, ethnic colours as are the wooden doors and windows. The flooring is in cement tiles.

Promoter: Nivara Hakk Welfare Centre.
Funding: Theatre director Feroz Khan, Shabana Azmi,
Farooque Shaikh (from the proceeds of“TumhariAmrita”).
Developed for the people of Chincholi Kate village.
Area: 600 sqmt (24 houses).
Cost: Rs.15 lac.
Contractor: B. S. Pare.
Structural consultant: Scheme Consultants.
Period of construction: 1994-95.