Gita Balakrishnan graduated from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi in 1990; after which she completed her training at the Centre for Building Performance and Diagnostics, Pittsburgh and then moved to Bangalore. She attempted working with conventional architects, but was disillusioned. She trained under the eminent guidance of Prof. K.S. Jagdish on alternative technologies. This was the turning point in her life, since she took the decision to keep away from conventional architecture as long as she could sustain herself. She took up a job as an architect with Association for Voluntary Action and Services (AVAS) with whom she works till date. She has been designing buildings in her individual capacity. She tries and restricts herself to a few projects a year. This gives her the time to concentrate on her work with the urban poor.

The 127 families of this slum are located off the ring road in the South of Bangalore. Through the efforts of AVAS, this community was fortunate to avail of a grant of Rs.20,000 per family from Rotary Midtown - Bangalore. In addition to this, AVAS has helped 41 families to procure a loan of Rs. 15,000 from HUDCO. Each family has been allotted a site of size 15'x20'. This slum is located on land belonging to Bangalore Development Authority, who is responsible for the infrastructure facilities. AVAS has taken on the moral responsibility to monitor and successfully implement the re-housing project.


People are being constantly guided on proper planning of their houses and finances for the construction etc. Each individual family is responsible for the construction for their own house. Money is released in instalments only after ensuring the judicious use of the previous instalment. Sewage lines have already been laid and the constructed houses are being serviced by it. Special designs are being made for the foundations of the houses on this land. A totally participatory and in-situ rehousing project.
                                 Finances at a glance:
Grant availed by each family
Loan availed by each family
Minimum own contribution towards foundation
Minimum cost of each unit
Total grant availed by 127 families Rs. 2540000.00
Total loan availed by 41 families Rs. 615000.00

The construction of this approximately 10000 sq ft. The Ashram for Yoga is in progress on a plot of land measuring roughly 100' x 200'. This land is located on the ring road in the south of Bangalore. The construction is being carried out in phases according to the availability of funds. The residential block is nearing completion after which the construction of the "Dhyanmandir", i.e. Meditation Rooms and classrooms will commence.

The plan was envisaged with an idea to achieve an atmosphere as natural as possible in the available plot of land. The materials chosen also adhere to this concept and are all eco-sensitive and are the kind that avoid long-term maintenance. The walls are made of rough granite stone in composite stone masonry, with the roof being in Mangalore tiles. Space being a constraint, vertical expansion up to two floors could not be avoided. All the rocks existing on site have been left untouched and the building has been designed around them and the existing trees.
Special features:
Most doors / windows are in Burma Teak Antique columns with brackets for the entrance porch Rough granite lintels, sills and jambs.
An outdoor semi-open dining with a rock garden.

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