The Centre for Development Studies (CDS) is an eloquent testimony to the cost-effective and environment-friendly architecture popularised by Laurence ‘Laurie’ Baker, the British-born architect, who made India his home for 50 years. His buildings are examples of prolific brick masonry construction, the replacing of windows with brick jali walls to incorporate privacy and allow ventilation, and the incorporation of irregular, pyramid-like structures on roofs with one side to the wind. Baker’s designs adopted Indian sloping roofs, terracotta Mangalore tiles and curved walls to enclose more volume at lower costs.
CDS, set up in 1971, was Baker’s first public project, and his largest. Here, Baker built a cooling system by creating a high, latticed, brick wall near a pond; this uses the difference in air pressure to draw cool air through the building.