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This Amdavadi architect has been using waste materials in architecture for 34 years

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This Amdavadi architect has been using waste materials in architecture for 34 years

A recipient of 30 national and international awards, Amdavadi architect Yatin Pandya uses industrial and municipal waste to make sustainable spaces for marginalised communities.


Ahmedabad-based activist, author, academician and architect Yatin Pandya holds a niche in the field of architecture for his 34-year-long practice of using industrial and municipal waste to create spaces. His sustainable architectural practice has garnered him 30 design awards across the globe so far. Few other conservation projects that Pandya has practised so far includes Le Corbusier Sanskar Kendra and ATMA House, Secretariat Complex in Trivandrum, Gandhi Gyan Parab at Sabarmati Ashram, Madam Montessory (Bal Mandir) etc.


What motivates Yatin Pandya to create sustainable architecture? During an interview with The Better India, Pandya shared, “Indian cities produce nearly 27.4 million tonnes of waste every single day. In Ahmedabad alone, it rises to 2750 metric tonnes daily. This is contributing to creating enormous mountains of waste, and we wanted to work with that and use it for the greater good.” Pandya, an alumnus of Ahmedabad’s CEPT University, initiated the practice Footprints E.A.R.T.H. (Environment Architecture Research Technology Housing) in 2008, to delve deep into creating affordable housing and socio-economically reasonable structures.



One of Pandya’s best works is the local NGO Manav Sadhna‘s activity centre and creche in Ahmedabad, built in 2006. The architecture of the place defines the organisation’s pedagogy and ideologies. It is located in one of the biggest slums stretched along the banks of Sabarmati River, called Ramapir Tekra, which has 150,000 slum dwellers. The activity centre is used by the community as a school in the morning hours, a vocational training centre in the afternoon hours, a gymnasium in the evening hours, and as an entertainment zone/community recreational centre in the late evening hours.


Approximately 20 types of recycled waste materials that are usually thrown as scrap have been utilised in the different building premises, in the walls, floors, roof and ventilators of the built forms. The construction process made use of bottles filled with fly ash gathered from thermal plants, wooden vegetable and fruit crates, glass and plastic bottles, municipal waste, rags, wrappers, empty oil tin containers, and various other packaging materials. Industrial ceramic waste, which usually can’t be recycled, was utilised to create floor tiles and paver blocks, while various other construction wastes, like tile residue, broken stone, stone cutter blades, scrap metal, wrecked slab and even fixtures in the bathrooms, were used in the 59-year-old architect’s project.

Yatin Pandya, who also designed the famous Toilet Garden cafe in Sabarmati Ashram, which aimed at challenging people’s mindsets about toilets by raising awareness about sanitation issues, is redefining what makes for socio-economically viable construction methods, through his architectural practice.


Picture Courtesy: The Better India, Footprints E.A.R.T.H. &


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