Thursday, December 12, 2013

We did it ! 'Gold' Green Homes Certificate

We are the first green certified residential building in Goa !

Nivim was awarded a Gold level green homes certification from the Indian Green Building Council. We are celebrating !

Read about the green features at Nivim Goa, at our previous blog post.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why build green ?

In simple words any new construction specially on a greenfield site (where there were no buildings before) has a negative impact on the environment (scroll down for why?). But the reality is that we need buildings and implementing green building practices help us in reducing the impact of the building activity on the environment.

How does building activity impact the environment:

  • Buildings consume large amounts of material and energy during construction and generate waste
  • Buildings continue to consume energy, water and other resources during their lifetime along with continualy generating waste (domestic waste, solid waste and water waste)
  • A building on a previously vacant greenfield site changes the land and its relationship to the surrounding environment:
    • buildings change the natural landscape of the site by reducing existing vegetation, changing natural topography, and water flow patterns
    • buildings create concrete barriers to absorbtion of water back into the earth thus increasing storm water runoff (leading to flooding of low-lying areas and additional burden on existing infrastructure) and fall in underground water table (due to reduced recharge)
    • Loss of natural landscape also results in the loss of habitat for animal and bird life
  • Materials used in a building have a direct correlation to the health of its residents

Most of the above reasons are fairly well understood in the building community then what are some of the reasons that green building practices are relatively inaccessible to the everyday builder? even when they are driven by common sense and reflected in many traditional construction practices. We have found that:

  • There is increasingly a lot of superficial jargon surrounding green buildings that needs to be shed
  • It may be easier to start from our backyard rather then wait for top-down government led infrastructure development and policy formulation
  • There are available green certification processes than can offer a system of checks and balances but sadly the industry is disillusioned about them or find them too tedious and expensive
  • Project planning is the key to success. It is vital that at all stages of design and construction; the builder makes choices that minimize the impact on the land, reduces use of energy, optimizes use of water resources, prioritizes reuse and recycling instead of use of virgin materials and reduces waste.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Celebrating "The Pavilion" in residential architecture

The Pavilion at Nivim Goa
We designed a pavilion at Nivim Goa. It is an expanded pool and garden pavilion wrapped in wood screen and glass doors. It is nestled among existing mature trees and floats over the pool deck in the front elevation. We love this special addition to Nivim.

Interestingly, we recently came across a house in Chile with a pavilion set among the breathtaking landscape of Andean mountains. The pavilion has a wrap around patio with a pool. There are many parallels in design concept and look and feel of this pavilion with ours at Nivim. We thought it will be fun to share the project here. See the photos below. All photos and content courtesy Archdaily.

House on the road to Farellones, Courtsey Archdaily

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Great Resource for Green Buildings in India

Down to Earth is without question, the leading science and environment magazine in India. The magazine takes leadership in addressing issues and concerns related to environmental issues. It is one of the few magazines that has laboriously researched articles where the editors try their best to not take sides and put forward the facts.

Down to Earth has been leading the way in sound publishing regarding green buildings as well. They have recently compiled all their articles and resources on green buildings in one portal.

Screenshot of Down to Earth magazine resource page on green buildings, link.
Our favorite section is the one called '6 Cardinal Directions for Better Buildings', namely:
1. Thermal Comfort
2. Ventilation
3. Light
4. Water & Energy
5. Building Materials
6. Safety & Design

While, architects, builders and institutions debate the relevance of green buildings, the need for certification and Griha vs. LEED; here is Down to Earth saying that green buildings in not a new science but simply a building built with common sense while being cognizant of the above 6 factors and their impact to the quality of any/ all buildings. We absolutely agree with that.

Here are a few other gems from the magazine that we love:

- Architects love brick as a building material, it is low-cost, easily available and has the natural earthy aesthetic quality. These factors often make 'brick' come across as a green material. But here is an article that challenges that notion with facts on energy use during the traditional brick making process as well as loss of cultivable soil impacting agriculture and lastly the pollution from the kilns.

Link to Infographic at Down to Earth
- This is a link to a great infographic that lays out the 22-step process required to obtain permits for any building project. This may make you laugh-out-loud but is so very true. Link to related article.

Link to 'Dampness' Infographic on Down to Earth 
- A great article on Dampness with yet another winning infographic.

We love you 'Down to Earth'. Thank you !

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nivim in The Wall Street Journal !

We are so happy to report that post completion, we find ourselves being published as 'House of the day' in The Wall Street Journal.

Here is my favorite excerpt from the publication, "Ms. Mangalgiri said she loves how light in the house changes throughout the day. 'The rooms are flooded with moonlight (at night)', she said, 'It is magical'".

It really is !!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nivim Completed ! Photos and more..

Hi Y'all

If you are wondering where we have disappeared after April and how is the progress on Nivim, then we apologize for the disappearing act... but wrapping up the project was super hectic and we needed to recharge...

The good news is that we completed the construction of Nivim in April/ May of this year. After that we were frantically trying to push the construction crew out, get the house cleaned up, setup the furniture and lighting, start the pool and perfect the landscaping. All this effort was to be able to get the architectural photography done asap.

Here is a link to the final photos of the house !

The house is now on the market for sale and is listed by SaffronArt. You can find the property listing here.

We would like to thank you for following the progress of the house, supporting us through your comments and being engaged in the process.

We will continue the blog with news on Nivim, our design inspirations, sustainability best practices and the charms of living in Goa.

Anjali Mangalgiri
and the Nivim Team.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Butterfly on Stone

Spotted in the afternoon today, this gorgeous purple butterfly flew into the living room at Nivim and perched itself on the basalt stone wall.... Such a welcome visitor... thank you for coming into our home !

Friday, March 22, 2013

Water water everywhere... or is it ?

A traditional boali, or water tank in Nizamuddin in Delhi. Now clogged with garbage and waste 
It is World Water Day and an excellent time to remind ourselves that Water is an extremely precious resource.

We have implemented many interesting strategies to save, store, reuse and recycle water at Nivim. We have actually found that water efficiency strategies are some of the easiest to implement. We promise you a lengthy post on our efforts with water soon.

Until then, here are four great reminders of our need to save water in India..

1. TED Talk by Anupam Mishra on the traditional methods of rain water harvesting in the desert region of Rajasthan.

2. An article on the pollution of our rivers specially the once mighty Ganga by Sunita Narain,

3. An article on the water woes in India,

Image courtesy Down to Earth
4. An article on the daily consumption of water in India and ways to reduce water use in a household,

Hope that these articles begin to answer the questions on the need to save water, ways to begin thinking about it and why we must act now or it will be too late ....

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thank you Manoj !

Manoj taking photos of the house to send to me while I am away !
Manoj Shetgaonkar, our site supervisor for the last 2 years in leaving us. We are sad to let him go as we had begun to rely on him for so many things, especially since he is a very hard working young fellow with great attention to detail.

At the same time, we are excited for him as he is moving on to bigger and better things... to Dubai actually !

We wish him all the best ! and thank him for all his hard work. The process of building Nivim would have been so much more difficult if he wasn't with us.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Chipicas Town Houses in Mexico

Just came across these gorgeous townhouses built in Valle de Bravo, Mexico.

The material choice of using louvered wood exteriors, siting within a lush green garden, ample shading, use of glass and openable shutters to make the interior and exterior come together is so very similar to our design concept and execution at NIVIM in Goa.

Drool over the gorgeous photos and wait for ours to finally be ready !

Built in 2009, these houses are designed by Alejandro Sanchez Garcia, Alfredo Cortes Tellez, Miguel Campero, and Jose Luis Salamanca.

Project find and photos courtesy, Inhabitat.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Week 103: Nivim at Night


It is romance, pure and simple. The love with which each detail for Nivim has been thought of, designed and executed is beginning to shine through in the near final product. As we install lighting, we did a tiny test one night last week and the results here to share.

I will also like to mention that the existing Scholar's trees (3-5 in number) on our site flower in November- December and have this intoxicating cardamom like smell at night that envelopes the entire site in the cool winter evenings. In addition, we are planting Jasmine, known as the 'queen of the night' in the entrance courtyard so it will scent the living room entrance and two bedrooms at night. Imagine walking to and from the main house to the pool and pavilion and every time you do so feeling the breeze of sweet floral smell welcoming you....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building with Trees

Existing Trees at Nivim in Goa with tamarind tree in the entrance courtyard
In our last post for Nivim, we celebrated the 13 existing trees on our site that have been careful integrated into the design for the house. We thought that it would be a good idea to do a follow up post on the idea of building around existing trees. Following is a very simple video on why we need trees, common sense really but it is still hard to come by in the prevalent construction practices.

Continuing with the idea of 'building with trees', we have picked three projects from around the world that were interesting, thought provoking and included trees as key design elements for the building.

1. House Among Trees, Argentina. (Courtsey: Archdaily)

2. Tepoztlan Lounge, Mexico (Courtsey: Archdaily)

3. Franz House, Argentina (Courtsey: Archdaily)


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