COSTFORD’s very visible presence in Kerala is the thousands of buildings it has designed and constructed for over a quarter of a century. There is special emphasis on providing cost-effective, energy efficient housing, especially in rural areas, along with rehabilitation of urban slums. The organisation, with thirteen centres in Kerala, creates and implements design and construction strategies sensitive to indigenous building practices, environmental considerations, and integration of appropriate modern technology.
With over twenty-five years of experience in gathering knowledge and human resources from such fields as science and technology, education and social work, and ongoing training of skilled workforces, COSTFORD creates awareness and action for cost-effectiveness, energy conservation, use of renewable energy, and eco-friendly building practices. COSTFORD is also sensitive to the aesthetics of the built environment and the buildings, whether public or private, display a beauty in line and form and a celebration of such basic and time-honored materials as brick and mud, stone and bamboo.
The basis for COSTFORD’s cost-effective architecture is continued adherence to and enhancement of the original philosophy, design, and construction principles of Master Architect Laurie Baker in concert with the framework established by the organisation’s other three founding members.
COSTFORD encourages its institutional, public, and private clients, along with organisations sharing similar concerns about social equity and a healthier ecosystem, to envision alternative architecture as a path to a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. The goal is creating and spreading cost-effective architectural design and construction strategies that honour the limited resources of Earth and address basic habitation needs in the context of healthy, vibrant communities for all clients, especially those suffering in poverty. COSTFORD seeks to strike a balance between creating affordable designs that upgrade poverty living conditions and modifying for sustainability and resource conservation the architecture and lifestyle practices promoted in overdeveloped societies.
In providing a model for enlightened cost-effective architectural practices as a nonprofit organization, COSTFORD represents architectural effort at the grassroots level with much of the practical work in fulfilling such an ambitious design and construction philosophy conducted by an ever-evolving cadre of dedicated social workers and educators, architects and engineers, student interns, staff, skilled trades, and labourers. Its tens of thousands of buildings throughout Kerala serve as testaments to the organisation’s mission as an advocate for cost-effective, energy efficient, and environmentally and culturally appropriate building practices for clients representing the spectrum of Kerala society.