Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Eco-kitchen, a way to fight the unbearable heat inside the house

When I arrived to Gajner one of the first things I realised was how incredibly horrible it was to cook there. There wasn’t any type of ventilation and we had to turn the fan every time the fire was lit. Beside that, considering that sometimes at night we had 40 degrees, cooking there was literally like tucking into a sauna. It was unbearable.

I was ordered to build an open kitchen on the rooftop and a room for more interns to sleep there. When I arrived, there was not enough space for everybody and some interns had to sleep on the outside. At the same time, I started working on two technical projects: the solar project, from Johann Kieffer and Vjay and the sand filter. It was about building a solar panel on the rooftop in order to obtain hot water for cooking and for the shower. The sand filter project, from Lucía Villamayor consisted on two sand filters, one on the terrace and the other one down in Manoj´s backyard, our logistics manager and neighbour. The sand filter aimed at cleaning the dirty water used for washing in order to reuse it to supply a small garden. We realized soon that the most logical idea was to make everything work together as an Eco-Kitchen, by fixing the hot water tap and putting there the sand filter.

For the Eco-Building I started with the material: Bamboo. It is very common and popular in Asian architecture and it still remains an integral part of their lives. Moreover, it is incredibly flexible, resistant and cheap, and it is more sustainable than normal wood since it’s production doesn’t waste a lot of energy. In addition, during the growth period the bamboo has a positive influence on the climate of the region and helps to control erosion and floods. So it was perfect for the Eco-Building project, in spite of not being endemic of Rajasthan (bamboo can not grow in desert areas and had to be imported from more humid places of India). 

The Eco-Kitchen that I designed is basically a bamboo enclosure of 2.7m per 6m, with a sloping roof that sheds rainwater sinks toward the terrace. It presents a versatile philosophy, which means that the space can be adapted for different uses such as kitchen, bedroom, meeting room, etc. The walls are designed to be movable and placed in different positions. The roof is made of small bamboos that are supporting a tarpaulin that can be put on or removed as needed. Finally, the design takes into account the location and the possible climate issues during the year.

I would like to say that I like the result of my work on the Eco-Building project, but I am specially proud and excited about the solar project and the water sanitation project. Some people got really interested on those projects and are currently trying to do the same in other places. At that moment I felt that we were doing something great and beautiful for the community.

Enrique working on the Eco-kitchen on the rooftop of the interns' house in Gajner

Enrique Reig Navarro - Spain
Eco-building project manager, Gajner (Rajasthan)

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