Despite being in a relatively peaceful, lush green interior of Kannur in Kerala, the site with its downward incline and the abutting road that connects the recently commissioned airport to the city, posed several challenges than one could imagine.
What looks like a single storey building from outside is a strategically designed house in multiple levels that hunkers down gently into the slope to protect it from all kinds of pollution generated by the heavy traffic on the road. A large landscaped courtyard trapped inside the house along with four smaller peripheral landscaped pockets acts as a primary source of ventilation. All major rooms open into one of these by means of large openings enjoying the filtered breeze and light. All other external fenestrations are smaller in nature to restrict sound, dust and smoke from the road entering the building. While respecting and responding to the context in which it sits, ‘The Hunkered House’ reflects the unassuming lifestyle of the homeowners, be it the form of the building, the choice of materials, interior décor and accessories.
The site slopes down from the road towards the south. Instead of altering the slope, the functions of the house have been organised in three levels and one enters the house at the mid-level. The sit-out that acts as a foyer, formal living, family living and a multipurpose room used as a gym right now sits at this landing level. The rest of the house is separated by the large central landscaped court and a full-length fight of steps takes you down to the lower level directly into this courtyard, and a smaller flight of steps takes you to the upper level that houses three bedrooms and its toilets. Another stair placed between these bedrooms connects you to the lower level avoiding a detour through the central courtyard. The lower level accommodates the car porch, master bedroom with its toilet, dining and the kitchen with its utility area. The powder room conveniently located connecting the central courtyard at the lower level, provides an easy access from the main parts of the house.
Peripheral circulation also follows the slope of the site. Once you enter the site, by means of an automated sliding gate, a flight of outdoor steps takes you down to the sit-out level and further down the corner a few more steps lead you to the kitchen yard positioned at the bottom-most level of the site. The car porch that is tucked into the building at the lowest level is accessed from the entry gate by means of a ramp. A secondary access has been provided directly into the building, next to the master bedroom, from the car porch to avoid the inconvenience of the otherwise long winding route through the main entry.
The lofty volumes that you encounter inside the building are in direct contrast to the restrained outward appearance. The tall sit-out space that flows into the formal living hints at the experience awaiting you inside the house. However, the double height volume of the central landscaped courtyard seamlessly merges with the spaces abutting, flooding the house with light and breeze, creating an unpredictable spatial and sensory experience. The subdued colours and textures used throughout the project help exemplify this. By internalizing itself ‘The Hunkered House’ act as a sanctuary from the external elements.
Client: Noushad Lalilakathand Family
Lead Architects: Ar. Reny Lijo and Ar. Lijo Jos
Interiors: LIJO.RENY.architects, Clinets
Structural Design: Keystone Engineers
Landscape Design: Plain Space Studio
Civil Contractor: Surendran Kannur
Electrical and Plumbing: Manoj and Deepak, Kozhikode
Flooring: Shamjith Kadirur
Painting: Shajan MK, Kannur
Door, Wardrobes, Kitchen and other Carpentry Work: Space n Designs, Kannur and Shijin Irikkur
Lighting: Muhammed Rishad, Thalassery
Aluminium Door and Windows: Sujith Cherian John, Tostem
Steel Fabrication: Rajesh Kumar, Kannur
Soft Furnishing: Thameem Kannur
1. Flooring: Granite, Nexion Vitrified tiles
2. Bathroom tiles: Granite, Nexion Vitrified tiles
3. Paving: Flamed Garnite
4. Sanitaryware / Fittings: Grohe, Roca, Toto, Kohler, Jaquar and Carysil
5. Switches/ Electrical Fittings: Schneider, Siemens, Philips, Crompton and Crovi
6. Paint: Jotun and Berger
7. Kitchen Appliances: Bosch, Hafele and Elica
8. Door Accessories: Hettich and Hafele