Project Description

The Vikas Community was built in Auroville from 1991 to 1998. It includes 23 apartments and communal spaces like a community kitchen, sports grounds, and landscaping incorporating rainwater catchment systems. The buildings were built using Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB), ferrocement elements and other appropriate building technologies.

Vikas crop 2
Vikas countryscale
Vikas statescale
Vikas neighborhoodscale
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Building Details

Residence complex

New Building Project

2 and 4

Studios, 1 BHK, & 2 BHK


1448 m²

1448 m²

1998 for the last building

1993 for the first building

Project Team

Auroville Building Centre / Earth Unit

Satprem Maïni

Climate Analysis

Vikas Community is located in Auroville, an international township in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, close to the city of Pondicherry. The climate is hot and humid, with the bulk of rain coming during the North-East Monsoon (October-December) and to a lesser degree during the South-West Monsoon (June-August). The town is located close to the sea, on a plateau. Significant reforestation efforts have created large swaths of forest throughout Auroville, which has significantly improved the micro-climate of the area during hot seasons. This allows passive ventilation strategies to be a very effective mode of cooling.

Design Approach

The natural layout of the Vikas site informed its design, maintaining existing greenery and topography. Solar and wind energy were harnessed through photovoltaics and a wind pump for water infrastructure.

The buildings were designed to respond to environmental factors such as wind direction and heavy rains, but also to reflect the spiritual aspirations of the community through the communal features and the incorporation of Sri Aurobindo's symbol in the dimensions of the buildings.
P 5 2 lay out


Special Feature

Large windows for light and ventilation

Landscaping incorporates rainwater catchment systems and decentralized wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) for reuse of water for gardening purposes.

Windows with sunshades and pronounced overhangs; improved ventilation with the increased velocity of wind through pier walls; a solar chimney that creates a natural stack effect draft inside the apartments through the temperature differential inside the chimney.

Earth building technologies & ferrocement used extensively throughout the buildings, soil from the site excavation used for CSEB block production.

Building Material

Load-bearing masonry with Stabilized Rammed Earth Foundations and Compressed Stabilized Earth Block

Stabilized Rammed Earth (5% stabilization)

Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) (5% stabilization)

CSEB, terracotta, or ceramic tiles

Lime stabilized earth plasters (on selected walls)

CSEB vaulting with waterproofing & ferrocement channels

Composite CSEB ring-beams, lintels and columns

Energy systems

According to occupant

Energy-efficient lighting

According to occupant



Building designed and executed to be entirely run on solar power, Windmill-operated borewell
P 25 1

Lessons Learned

The main lessons learned from this project derived from community involvement and lack thereof. As this was a grassroots project, which necessitated the active participation of the residents in the construction, and subsequently in the maintenance of the sustainable infrastructure systems, problems stemmed from the lack of dedication of residents to maintain the communal systems.