On account of rapid urbanization and gentrification of modern Indian cities, construction and design typologies of houses have become more and more formulaic based on the locally prevailing trends and thus losing their connection with the Neighbour and the Nature.
‘A house of small talks’ located in a crowded residential neighborhood of Coimbatore creates a dialogue between the house and its inhabitants, the house and its immediate context in terms of what is built and what is un-built.As is seen in the façade and the spatial organisation, the aim was to achieve a design that was inviting, with a sense of openness,while respecting the privacy and functionality of the spaces.
The house is set back from the street providing breathing landscape in a congested context, making the design perceivable at a glance. The design approach epitomizes the value of the un-built space, as it complements the built-form but also creates transition zones that are experiencedas one walks through the house.
The orientation and the built-form helps in maximizing natural ventilation, lighting and also in the engagement of green spaces with the different functions of the house. The use of wooden screens in the openingslets light seep into the interiors while keeping the house cool.
Each function of the house was identified as individual volumes and then introduced to a game of twisting, stacking and interlocking, creating curious spaces and angles merging to a point where the inside meets the outside. The end result is that of spaces created of varying quality and response to the human scale, thereby creating a feeling of openness in some spaces and amore intimate and reassuring experience in the others.
Walking through these volumes slowly reveal its principal layers; public areas such as the formal living and the informal living area sandwiching the courtyard, intimate and private spaces like the bedrooms and the more functional areas such as the kitchen and utility.The spaces formed due to uneven angles lets the inhabitants discover the use of same space differently every time, making strong complex equations between all the components, encapsulating the art of living.The twisting of the voluminous living room block creates a courtyard around which the rest of the blocks are pivoted. Though the courtyard being eccentric visually binds all the spaces together and rightly becomes the house of the deity.(Pooja room).
The volumes of each space vary significantly and often are the only indication of change in function thus removing the need for physical divisions. They however retain the pure geometry and simple proportions even after the twisting and change in orientations. This ethos of minimalism is the aesthetic that the firm believes in and is explored extensively .
Skylights over spaces provide an ever changing movement of light through the day rendering different moods and experiences. The overall colour palette is space responsive and has a balance of both warm and cool tones.Cooler tones that give a sense of tranquility are used in areas such as the informal living room whereas warmer tones are used in more vibrant spaces such as the courtyard region.
Natural wood, charred wood, exposed concrete ceiling with dark rustic tones are balanced by plain white walls and green spurs of plants.A 16ft high charred wood free standing wall forms a backdrop around which the living room and stairs are phrased spilling conterminous volumes into each other. The staircase is made from a steel framework with alternating concrete and wooden treads.
The overall rustic finish is further explored by the usage of unfinished wood in the interiors along with Jaisalmer yellow stone and black natural stone used for flooring.
An amalgamation of forms, volumes, light, landscape and in-surging territories creates an ambience to discover and experience as we go from one day to the next.
The two illustrations place the design in contrasting environments changing its equation with its proximities in each scenario:
1. The first illustration is the design in its actual urban context and the dialogues it creates in the urban knit. The breaking of the repetitive pattern adds a new layer of complexity to the locality and its context.
2. The second illustration is the design in an isolated surreal context with the city’s natural silhouette forming the background denying the daedal mesh of urban context impelling projections at larger scale.
Total floor area: 357m2
Structure:Frame structure with M25 concrete
Finish:Floor finishes: Jaisalmer stone, Kajaria tiles
Wall finishes: Pincoda wood, Asian apex ultima
Design team:PradeepArumugam, ShanilRiyaz
SmritiDevkumar, Raghu Ramalingam, Pravin M
Photo credit:Prasanth Mohan, Running Studios