Welcome

Laurie Baker
Laurence Wilfred Baker
Born: March 2, 1917, Birmingham, England
Education: Graduated from Birmingham School of Architecture, 1937

The Brick Master of Kerala

Turning Point: While watiing three months in Bombday for a boat back to England in 1844, became influenced by Gandhi. Returned to India for good after a brief spell at Home. In 1948, married Dr. Elizabeth Jacob and lived in Pithorgarh till mid-60s. Moved to Kerala thereafter.
 
Work: Pioneered low-cost nature friendly housing in India. Known as the 'brick master of Kerala' for offering housing solutions to the roofless millions. Some prominent Baker buildings: Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram; Chitralekha Studio Complex, Thiruvananthapuram.
 
Awards: Order of the British Empire, Padma Shri, Great Masters Architect of the Year, UNO Habitats Award & UN Roll of Honour.
Way back in 1988, Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India thought of a concept in construction sector where by a substantial saving in housing sector in a five year plan could be affected. The saving in funds so achieved could be utilized for more housing stock at a national level. This concept was to create building centers that would promote cost effective construction. The Paranjpe committee was formed under the chairmanship of K.G. Paranjpe and the recommendation of this expert group resulted in the building center movement.

Under the aegis of this scheme, about 400 building centers came into existence under the overall monitoring of Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). Laurie Baker Building Centre is one of them.

Typical Arch

Rat trap bond

Rat trap bond

Rat trap bond brick masonry is an alternative to normal English bond masonry walls by which 15% of cost can be reduced without comprimising the quality, strength and appearances.

Filler Slabs

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.

Arches

Arches

The arch is significant because it provides a structure which eliminates tensile stresses in spanning an open space. All the forces are resolved into compressive stresses. This is useful because several of the available building materials such as stone, cast iron and concrete can strongly resist compression but are very weak when tension, shear or torsional stress is applied to them.

Domes

Domes

A dome can be thought of as an arch which has been rotated around its central vertical axis. Thus domes, like arches, have a great deal of structural strength when properly built and can span large open spaces without interior supports.