Studied Architecture at The Birmingham School of Architecture.
In 1938, Associate of Royal Institute of British Architects (R.I.B.A.)
In 1945, he came to India. In 1983, M.B.E. In 1987, received the first Indian National Habitat Award.
In 1989, Indian Institute of Architects Medal for Outstanding Architect of the year. In 1989, given Indian Citizenship.
In 1990, Grand Masters Award - Architect of the year. In 1991, Indian Institute of Architects Medal - Outstanding Architect. In 1992, UNO Habitat Award and Roll of Honour. In 1993, International Union of Architects - World Habitat Award. In 1995, University of Central England. Doctor of the University.
Projects ranging from fishermen's villages to institutional complexes, low cost mud housing schemes to low cost cathedrals.
Centre for Development Studies, Ulloor, Trivandrum, 1971.
Houses at Archbishop Compound, Pattom, Trivandrum, 1970.
K.N.Raj's residence, Kumarapuram, Trivandrum, 1970.
House for R. Narayanan, Golf Links, Trivandrum, 1972-73.
Mitraniketan, Vellanad, Trivandrum - 1970
House for Dr A.Vaidyanathan, Kumarapuram, Trivandrum, 1972.
House for Leela Menon, Golf Links, Trivandrum, 1973-74.
House for Beena Sarasan (an Income Tax officer), Kowdiar, Trivandrum, 1989.
‘Mahatma Gandhi’ Laurie Baker’s inspiration.
One of his influences has been Mahatma Gandhi, for him proper development can be done if raw material is brought from a place in a range of 5-10 kms.
Laurie Baker’s architecture was a contemporary version of the vernacular.
He draws a creative sustenance from the environment in which he works, absorbing vernacular patterns of construction and individual styles of living to such a degree that he is able to give his clients.
The Loyola Chapel, reflecting Baker's mastery over light.
The forgotten vernacular techniques were used in his design.
He criticized the works of Le Corbusier, his structures were characterless.
Another inspiration for him has been ordinary men.
Laurie’s philosophy of contemporary version of the vernacular.
Baker creates a variety of textures and patterns by simple manipulation of the way in which bricks are placed in the wall.
The upturned, horned roofs of buildings as found in Kerala are the direct result of the people of those places, they knew that hot air rises & allowed it to travel upwards from the low eaves to the openings at the ends of the high ridge. They understood and applied principles of insulation; then roofing materials formed hollow cellular protective layers.
Concrete is used sparingly often in a folded slab design with waste & discarded tiles used as fillers thereby making the roof light.
He used jalis which had many advantages, such as ventilation, enough light, less material required.
‘The Hamlet’ built on a steeply contoured site
An architects personality is reflected in the way he designs his own house.
1st built a single room hut of timber. It housed the library of medical books & also as B.R, L.R, D.R & study.
The site was highly contoured and rocky, but baker did not disturb even a single rock or a tree, so it is popularly named as “right in the rocks”.
A house was built on the lower contour for the 4 nieces who moved to Trivandrum. One more house was built for his son Tilak which faced the trees.
The living room of ‘The Hamlet'
Bakers innovative use of discarded bottles
The incursion of structures on the site is not felt.
Baker has managed to confine this building to an area that is easily accessible& yet secluded by the heavy foliage.
Laurie Baker used material from other demolished structures. Wood planks from an old boat jetty. He even used old bottles in another structure, which gives a different effect.
The journey to Bakers home is like from a concrete jungle of Trivandrum to the freshness & shade of the suburbs.
‘Nicery’ for his 4 nieces.
CENTER FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
The Computer center at the ‘Center for Development studies’
Established in 1965 for promoting economic development, so Laurie Baker was the obvious choice.
All the concerns of his architectural practice the sensitivity to the natural contours & elements of a site, the honest & optimum utilization of the materials find an expression in the plan & structures of the center.
It has all the Baker characteristics- the jalis, the traditional roofs, the stepped arches, the overhanging eaves and the skylights.
Baker is able to transform vernacular architecture to suit the requirements of a modern academic institution.
COST SAVING TECHNIQUES
Using corbelling instead of a lintel above the frame, this reduces the cost of the R.C.C lintel.
Using less number of bricks to make a wall of same thickness and providing cavities in between for insulation.
Reducing the unnecessary cost of a window with a shutter.
Using ‘jali’ in his walls for proper cross ventilation, enough sun light etc.