A Pune-made housing solution that’s easy on the pocket and the environment | Pune News

On a farm at a short distance from Pune stands an unusual farmhouse. A few other buildings in and around the city are just like it, among them, a home south of Pune and another in Talegaon, a villa in Mulshi, a travelling display of heavy machinery by a multinational company and a commercial kitchen.

The primary building material of the elegant and state-of-the-art homes is discarded shipping containers. These living spaces are being created by Pune-based Studio Alternatives, whose own office in Arvi—a village 25km from Pune, is called the ‘studio shed.’ It is made from 90 per cent reclaimed material including shipping containers.
The company’s aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of the farmhouses by creating tiny home concepts and using as many reclaimed materials.

The office, like the houses the company creates, reflects the experiences of the founders— Dhara Kabaria and Sonali Phadke. Kabaria attended the School of Interior Design, CEPT Ahmedabad, and the Kent Institute of Art and Design, Rochester, UK, while Phadke is an engineer and an alumnus of The Ecological Society, Pune. She is also a resource person for a number of environment projects and surveys.

According to a study by the UN Environment Programme in 2022, “Despite an increase in energy efficiency investment and lower energy intensity, the building and construction sector’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions have rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic to an all-time high.” In Europe, the buildings sector represented 40 per cent of the continent’s energy demand– 80 per cent of which came from fossil fuel.

In India, Studio Alternatives is catering to a niche segment that is trying to merge an ecological lifestyle with comfort. “Our clients vary by age group, from very young people to couples who are in their mid-or late 60s. There is one unifying outlook among them. They are people who love outdoors and are looking for a home that is smart and sustainable. They don’t want to go through the hassle of building a very elaborate conventional house. They prefer to be comfortable and with nature,” says Kabaria.

A Studio Alternatives house might begin life as a shipping container but they are insulated, have wall cladding, polish and other finishes to make them habitable. The houses stand on stilts or columns, further reducing the stress on earth.

“One of the important factors is that these houses have an afterlife. If a person does not need the house any more, the containers can be taken apart and sent for recycling,” says Kabaria.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 05-03-2024 at 19:25 IST

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