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Union urban development minister Sheila Kaul has presented Laurie Baker, the innovative architect lauded for his low-cost construction techniques, with the United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honour for 1992. The award was presented to him on World Habitat Day (October 5).
Baker has a simple rule-of-thumb for deciding which material and method are right. "Consider every component of your building and ask if it is necessary? If the answer is 'no', don't do it. If 'yes', then ask whether the way you are doing it is the most economical." Laurie Baker.
Baker evolved the rat-trap bond for brick walls, which can save material without compromising strength. For load bearing walls, there is a saving of 25 per cent on the total number of bricks used and thus in the construction cost. Moreover, iat-trap bond walls look visually pleasing and they eliminate the need for plastering. Such walls also have better thermal insulation properties.
Ever since he resigned from HUDCO's planning committee, reportedly because he did not want to churn out assembly line urban structures, Baker has devoted his talent to building houses for the poor, without compromisingon aesthetics or comfort.