Debris Block House in India’s Bengaluru nestles into its leafy landscape

Debris Block House by Collective Project intertwines contemporary architecture, flora and roof gardens, as it nestles within its native landscape

Interior of Debris Block House
(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

A humble mango tree extends its fruit to Debris Block House, as it sits perched on a residential corner on the edge of India's Bengaluru. For many, there would be no hesitation to remove it, if one tree were to come in the way of a construction project, but for architects Cyrus Patell and Eliza Higgins – a husband and wife duo – the preservation of the surrounding flora was of utmost concern.

Exterior of Debris Block House

(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

Debris Block House: take the tour

Situated 3,000ft above sea level, Bengaluru is famous for its rich flora, vast tree cover and bountiful scenery. Due to the city's rapid urbanisation and recent expansion, many areas are littered with remnants of old buildings.

This project's 3,000 sq ft plot was the graveyard of a previously demolished building, and perhaps not the most inviting of spaces to start a build. Patell and Higgins. the owners of architecture firm Collective Project, a 2021 Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory listed studio, saw the opportunity to take on this Tetris challenge, and repurpose the detritus for Debris Block House.

One of the bedrooms in the Debris Block House

(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

A careful material selection blends past and present in the newly designed home, crafted especially to encourage harmony between the contemporary architecture and the beauty and history of the locale. A unique mixture of lime, soil, cement and demolition debris was cast into blocks and tiles to build the house. The mix resulted in beautiful tonal colours, with the added bonus of enhanced durability. The debris-based mud-concrete blocks also gave the house its name.

Exterior of the Debris Block House

(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

There is a need to ’challenge the typical assumptions and expectations of local materials and techniques in our practice', the architects write. By experimenting with the foundation and materials, reusing and working with what existed on site, Collective Project crafted a new pathway for responsible construction. 

The dining area inside Debris Block House

(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

Upon entering Debris Block House, visitors are engulfed by sweeping vegetation. Green foliage adds softness to each corner, as well as creating privacy from passers-by.

The central staircase is the main focus point in Debris Block House

(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

The architects worked closely with the clients to create a central, open space that acts as the heart of the home. Every other room is connected to it. The central staircase within it is the interior's showpiece, awash with light from strategically placed skylights. It also streamlines circulation and creates visual cohesion throughout the home's multiple levels.

Living room area of the Debris Block House

(Image credit: Benjamin Hosking)

On the second floor, a small bridge leads into a music room and personal office space. Just a few strides away, an open terrace provides a hub for entertainment, used regularly for outdoor dining, kept in pleasant shade by the leaves of the overhanging mango tree that sweetly contrast with the concrete pergola. A nearby roof garden is also accessible, allowing guests to be immersed fully in the Bangalore climate.

Large sliding glass panels ensure easy access to the natural landscape from the kitchen, which flows into the dining and living area on the ground floor. Meanwhile, nestled in the corner, just off the entrance, is a small bedroom, ready to provide a sanctuary for guests. 

Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.