On a tight city plot of 12 x 18 m, the building footprint is pushed to extremes permissible by building regulations ; allowing for the creation of a generous ‘back garden’, a rarity in such small sites.
Bangalore’s situation in an equatorial location, at an altitude of 1000m above sea level, along with its gently undulating landscape dotted with small lakes, gives it a unique ‘local’ micro-climate; distinct from neighboring regions. While experience of separate seasons is relatively indistinct, short-term variations in weather during the course of a day can be marked and dramatic. An attempt was made to create a sensitive device that would record these variations in nature.
A key element is the layered ‘screen wall’ which, in fact contains all the elements of a onventional ‘window’ in this context ; including security grills, insect screens, glass and curtains. The idea was to take the fenestration elements of a traditional urban dwelling and transform them into a new architectural arrangement. This captures and intensifies the experience of unique changes in nature particular to the place while satisfying utilitarian needs. At night the building transforms into a ‘light box’ with an enigmatic presence on the street. In a society characterized by extreme disparity, the oversized security grill acquires a symbolic presence on the street façade.
Cues are taken from local traditional composite construction of brick walls and stone slab roofing. The buildings have two faces each in load bearing brickwork laid in ‘rat-trap’ bond with voids containing service conduits. The other two faces are of steel framed screen walls with composite infill. Floor slabs are rough granite slabs hand split at site from stone blocks quarried locally. These span between fabricated steel joists which in turn are supported on the steel I-stanchions and brick walls.