This 3,600 sq ft site previously hosted a 25 year old single storey house that unfortunately, Alok Kothari Architects (AKA) decided to bring down this structure as it was in a dilapidated state; its interiors were gloomy and also, it wasn’t a ‘vaastu shastra’, the traditional Hindu science of architecture, a compliant house, which was the client’s main requirement.
Study of the site surroundings and the existing structure showed that the main reasons for the existing house being dull and dark were the parking and a three storey bungalow on the east side of the site that was cutting off the morning sun and small opening sizes which didn’t allow enough light to penetrate into the house. In order to cater to this issue, AKA decided to anchor all the spaces in the new design to a central ‘skylight’ which would not only draw in light during the entire day but also act as a ‘brahmasthan’, related to ‘vaastu shastra’, of the house. Also, having large windows to all the rooms was the logical way forward.
Along with the norms of ‘vaastushastra’, the larger planning principle used was to divide the house into two functional zones, one for the private spaces and the other for the public spaces, along the north-south axis. The client’s demand of having all the daily necessity spaces, living room, dining room, kitchen, pooja room, an area dedicated to worship to God, and two bedrooms and toilets on the ground floor was also catered to. The living room and the kitchen were placed on either side of the central ‘sky light’, below which the magnet of the entire house was placed, the dining area.
The positioning of an L-type, folded plate, ferrocrete staircase around the dining added a play to this central core. The living room extends onto the outdoor seating area which hosts a traditional Indian swing that the client had bought from Rajasthan. The kitchen is connected to the utility space at the rear south side of the house. Continuing the same grid, the first floor is composed of two bedrooms, toilets and a multipurpose room. Carving out a block from the ground floor grid, provision was made for two car parks next to the entry porch.
The client wanted a house that was simple but still makes a statement. AKA took this up as a challenge and started exploring different ways of architectural expression. Their research took them to the traditional residential typology of Pune, the ‘wada’ which was always as simple and elegant and was mostly constructed in exposed brick or basalt stone or both. They decided to use brick as it is a reasonably environmental material as well as in a perspective of cost.
Massing of the structure has been kept very subtle and focus has been put on highlighting the materiality of brick. To complement the red colour of the bricks, exposed concrete box windows and weather shades have been introduced. Also, the square grid of rough cement finish plaster on the compound wall accentuates the presence of bricks. In order to break the monotony of the brick façade and also to provide privacy, ‘jaali’, perforated wall in brick, work has been used.
While the material palette and concrete for the exteriors of the building was carefully chosen to give it a simple, natural and playful look; the interiors also follow a similar approach. The material palette consists of a teakwood finish and light colours helping provide a neat, clean and spacious ambience.
The main USP of the interior design is the use of ‘patterns’ in defining different spaces. The seed of this once again lies in AKA’s study of the traditional Indian architecture where the use of such patterns is evident in floorings, wall carvings, ceilings, etc. According to ‘vaastu shastra’ the use of such shapes and patterns boosts the energy flow and generates positive vibrations. These positive vibrations are what transform a house into ‘a home’, an abode.