Located in a dense North-Delhi neighbourhood filled with primaeval yet eclectic 70-year-old row houses, the project called for renovating an apartment inhabited by a third generation of immigrants that arrived from Pakistan around the Indo-Pakistan partition in 1947 and settled in New-Delhi. Sized at a humble 1440 sqft, the address has since transgressed from a small tenement to a four-storey building, deeply rooted in family heritage and traditions. It was almost impossible to believe that this stately building had undergone at least five rounds of refurbishments, the last one being around 19 years ago and still carried traces of material and interior furnishings from all these past years. These remnants acted as a great starting point and called for a creation of generous spaces and restrained form of luxury combining the existing and the new in a tiny apartment where every inch mattered.
The footprint was enlarged by 6 inches on the front and the rear adhering to the regional construction by-laws. Primary spaces were organised around an open kitchen and a dining space that is illuminated by a skylight. Abutting it on the rear half is the master bedroom which is made up of a reasonably sized sleeping area, an indoor garden catered by another large skylight and a charcoal-toned master bathroom with two walk-in-closets, tailor-made for the occupants. Additionally, a storage balcony is taken inside the master bedroom and renovated to hold a space that doubles up as a study and a yoga space. On the front side, is a spatial balcony that flows into the common spaces such as the formal study and the living area. A secondary bedroom is also added overlooking the front balcony and has panoramic views of a park and the skyline.
By using a series of horizontal windows, slits and long doors, at any given point a person could see the entire depth and the length of the house. This created a perception of unending deep spaces and the material choices accentuated this feeling. Different surfaces such as walls, floors and ceiling were layered with similar finishes articulating serial visions. Each room has a characteristic plinth made from salvaged pine-wood and the balconies and other outdoor spaces use a black and white stone pattern on the floor that has also been recycled from flooring found at the site. However, the ceilings were designed for indulgence using flower motifs, grooves and minimalistic shallow coffers to hold their attention.
Since the clients were highly attuned to a tellurian lifestyle, the spaces are simple, clean and an easy-to-maintain. The wooden door and window frames, bed base and back walls, storage cabinets and certain signature furniture pieces were also made from repurposed wood taken from the same site. Eventually, 37% of the material from the existing site was upcycled, daylight in the living areas was maximised to reduce the dependency on artificial lighting and about 7% of the construction cost was reduced by site-based upcycling.
The apartment in many ways turned out to be all about moments; moments of surprise, engagement, introspection and play and in its unique way representative of the resilient and eclectic spirit of the clients and the photographs taken at various compositional injunctions are targeted to bring out just that.