Complete energy efficiency and a thriving landscape fit for a bird enthusiast—this was the driving force behind Breathe, Bangalore. With the residence only covering a quarter of the entire plot, an opportunity arose for the contoured land to be a sanctuary of sorts for the built form. Perhaps most importantly, the surrounding rain garden helps make water become one with the land. The swale and retention pond source, recharge and reuse water, supported by native plant species that create a lush habitat for the birds and animals that visit. Conscious use and re-use of existing materials evident in the random rubble foundation, locally made bricks and rammed earth walls means that the project is contextually relevant and the house easy to maintain. The concept of energy-efficiency extends to the inside, much like the rays of light through the perforations on the curved jaali wall. Not only does the jaali aid ventilation, with micro chajjas and an inner courtyard providing thermal comfort to the Vastu compliant house, the perforations invite birds to nest in them—a living, breathing skin. The play of light and shadow is enhanced with the addition of colour through Athangudi flooring tiles laid in a gradient. Upcycled wood in the staircase and window frames, reused tiles in the bathroom and decorative imprints of local leaves on concrete surfaces—a residence that takes from and gives to its surroundings. The unbuilt gives meaning to the built, and the built, in turn, allows the unbuilt to flourish.