The return of the Malayalee, to functional homes
Kozhikode: The Malayalee, who has been transformed by the Covid-19 contagion, is thinking afresh the concept of ‘home’ too. They are re-thinking about the previous tendency of spending their entire earnings besides taking loans on construction of houses. Experts in this industry aver that abandoning the habit of craving after decorative and prestigious abodes, more are now turning to functional residences.
The uncertainty bred by the pandemic is the reason for this change. Those who formerly envisaged building houses in the range from 5,000 to 10,000 sq.ft., have now limited their dreams to the confines of less than 4,000 sq. ft. Mansions cost at least Rs 4,000 per sq. foot., and will end up consuming at least Rs 2 crore on completion. In contrast, budget houses measuring in the 1,000-1,500 sq. ft. range, come at an affordable Rs 30-35 lakh.
Those who prefer such functional houses predominantly belong to either people who have been rendered jobless overseas or those facing an uncertain career prospect. Apart from these two categories, this trend is visible among two other classes too, according to Vivek P P, chairman of the Indian Institute of Architects, Calicut Centre, and founder of ‘de earth.’
The first belongs to the group constrained to spend the pandemic period cooped up in flats, seeking refuge in the liberating embrace of a small house on a patch of earth. Other were those who joined the contagion-induced exodus from metropolises, including Bengaluru and Dilli, swelling the ranks of the ‘work-from-home’ tribe. According to Vivek P P, these folks are constructing both offices and residences costing just Rs 20-25 lakh.
Architects Aswathi Mohan and Shabeeb Rahman, partners in Kozhikode-based Coastal Trails Studio, reveal that where once enquiries about budget homes were a measly four or five a month, now it has catapulted to upto ten a week. They also mentioned that harkening back to tradition customers evince interest in nature-friendly modes like unplastered surfaces, mud bricks and red-oxide flooring. In their combined experience, splurging on granite and marble in an orgy of opulence has stopped.
In a ripple effect, this has led to rejuvenating the industry from the lethargy inflicted by Covid-19 by generating job opportunities in ancillary fields, like among brick-layers, carpenters, electricians, masons and painters, says R K Manisankar, founder general secretary of Licensed Engineers and Supervisors Federation (Lensfed).
Architect G Shankar of Habitat Technology Group, Thiruvananthapuram, feels that there are visible signs of Malayalees wisening on to the worth of small homes. They have awakened to the fact that channelling the savings of a lifetime into residences is a sure fire recipe for disaster. Our people have learned that beautiful and small dwellings open to light and breezes are the best.