Timber construction would have regularly raised a few eyebrows, but in this case, it was a boon rather than a bane. Plantation of excess Nilgiris has led to an adverse effect on the water table of Karnataka, leading to a state-wide ban of its plantation. Following the ban on eucalyptus plantation, the local villagers of Chikkaballapur district were permitted to use a sanctioned quantity of Nilgiri timber for domestic and construction purposes. These barks were procured from the forest, while keeping the roots intact, thus allowing the barks to grown again within 3-5 years.
The barks are dried, skinned and used as round sections, to reduce the embodied energy during the production of the playgrounds.
Working with Nilgiri
The timber of the tree is strong and uniform in size, proving it to be a great choice as structural members. The villagers often use it to retro-fit roofs for their verandas during monsoons. Understanding the material with the local carpenter, we designed, what we like to call, the “belan” (rolling pin) joinery to use the timber efficiently for the rides. The key aims of the joinery design was to make the rides easy to maintain over a period of time by replacing individual timber members of the rides independent of the rest of the ride, while they are easy to make in the limited machinery available in rural areas.