Toy Storey Residence / Wallmakers

Architects: Wallmakers
Area: 3,843 Square Feet (357 Square Meters)
Year: 2024
Photographs: Syam Sreesylam
Lead Architect: Vinu Daniel
Design Team: Oshin Mariam Varughese, Dhawal Dasari, Mrityunjoy Pan, Rosh Saji
City: Vatakara, Kerala
Country: India

This intricate architecture project based in Vatakara, North Kerala, introduces the concept of a “Toy Storey” residence, ingeniously utilizing around 6,200 discarded toys to create a structurally unique and environmentally conscious home. Emphasizing sustainability, the design incorporates Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) and a radial ferrocement shell roof to minimize the building’s carbon footprint and harness materials that reflect the local context and resources. This home, accessible from all sides and surrounded by lush greenery, stands as a testament to integrating community and environmental awareness in modern architecture, inviting constant interaction with the community and serving as a live museum of cherished childhood memories.

Toy storey residence / wallmakers

Have you ever experienced the discomfort of stepping on a Lego block? Many who have will recall the distinct pain it causes. This prompted two pertinent questions: ‘How durable is this material?’ and ‘How much of it accumulates in homes after children outgrow them?’

Toy storey residence / wallmakers

Plastic has infiltrated nearly every aspect of daily life, including 90% of the world’s toys. This is a significant shift from the traditional Indian childhoods characterized by outdoor activities and wooden toys. In 2022, global toy sales reached $107.4 billion. However, the complex shapes and chemical components of toys make them difficult to recycle, resulting in 80% of all toys ever manufactured ending up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.

In Vatakara, where toy consumption is notably high, an architectural project emerged with the vision of a circular home accessible from every direction, featuring a verandah upheld by recycled toys and traditional Mangalore tiles. The design includes a cantilevered verandah supported by toy corbelling, encircling the structure that lacks distinct “front” or “back” elevations. The home’s placement was determined by three large trees and the varying ground levels on the site, which also accommodates a secluded basement with a library and bedroom.

The residence embodies the concept of a “House within a house,” where a spacious living area, often visited by neighbors and community members, is segmented by translucent shoji-style screens, providing light and visual continuity to the more private areas. The central courtyard and a CSEB-Toy Jaali wall serve as perforated external skin, enhancing cross ventilation and insulation. The project incorporates innovative construction techniques such as a radial ferrocement shell roof that reduces reinforcement needs by 33%, energy-efficient CSEB walls, and traditional oxide flooring.

Perhaps most importantly, the local children frequently visit the house, engaging with walls that showcase their once-beloved toys, thus preserving a piece of their childhood indefinitely.

Toy storey residence / wallmakers
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Project Location

Address: Vatakara, Kerala, India

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