Bricks @ 47
Client: Mr. Anshul Gupta
Scale: 6,000 Sq.Ft.
Brief [Design as you please, but this is my budget]
Any project where an architect receives an open hand is an ideal project. However, as the studio acknowledged during Bricks@47, it's also an immense responsibility. It helped that we knew the occupants well, personally, and could discuss accurate programmatic solutions during the formation of the brief.
The house is designed for a young nuclear family with 4 permanent residents. Apart from the proverbial bedrooms the program evolved with 2 studies and several overlapping, yet shared family spaces. Each of these was constantly engaged with the 18’ high dining.
Understanding that the couple is known for hosting impromptu gatherings, the Public function was taken to the 2nd floor [top floor] instead of impeding into the areas that the family was expected to occupy at any time. This public function was the Bar. While the indoors accommodate a gathering of 18, the adjacent terraces could account for a gala.
To assist in hosting the frequent galas, the terrace landscape carried functional elements like the built-in Barbeque, platform for lighting a bon-fire, permanent wood clad furniture and of course abundant plantation. The fact that the owner is always the life of the party, and never away from a jovial narration, the terrace carried a small amphitheater for his potential audience.
Additional interpretation of the requirement was the expandable kitchen. The lady of the house is also a professional chef, who would conduct frequent training sessions. The kitchen was designed with one of the walls as collapsable doubling as a worktop to allow for 5 students, with vantage to the various culinary activities.
One of the beautiful conversations that ensued during the design development was the idea of carrying memories from the couple’s ancestral home. The ever present scent of the Nimbu Tree, the monochromatic geometric flooring inlays, the clean terrazzo floor, the enjoyment of lazy winter afternoons at the verandah, fused the essential romance to the developing spaces.
Sustainable Green Home [Our shared ethical responsibility]
The clients were completely synchronised with the Studio’s Philosophy of being Ethically Green. The house is presently registered with the IGBC Green Homes program and aspires to receive a Platinum certification. Some important aspects covered are as follows:
Site Selection and Planning - Reduced Heat Island on Roofs by adequate insulation and reflective paints. Almost 20% of the ground floor is covered in natural terrain with softscape. The house allows for universal accessibility.
Water Efficiency - Rain water harvesting, efficient plumbing fixtures, using drought resistant species for plantation.
Energy Efficiency - The residence falls under “Composite” climatic zone and attempts an energy cost savings of more than 30% over the baseline. The energy conservation measures include efficient envelope, efficient lighting, efficient air-conditioning systems and solar PVs.
Material and Resources - Waste segregation and tying into the existing waste management ecosystem of the neighbourhood became integral to design. Additionally, the project is on track to avoid sending almost 60% of construction waste to the landfill. All material procurement is within 400 Km from the site. Most of the Shuttering wood is recycled within the house as panelling elements.
Indoor Quality - Enhanced Cross ventilation, Enhanced day-lit spaces, low VOC materials, ensure a healthy habitable environment.
Construction Technology [Building Construction classes at site]
The project offered a potential to be a playfield for several design and construction techniques. From designing elements using custom written codes, such as the parametric brick wall and parapets or the double curved canopies, to relying on century old methods of spanning distances like the jack arch. The house was a testing bed for Hi-tech design tech marrying low tech construction tech. An AEC pipeline which we believe is India’s great strength. The site also helped our principal, Mr. Arun Bij, to organise building construction classes for the studio, especially since some of the elements needed unfortunately dying skills. Terrazzo flooring for instance. Once a thriving and economic flooring system has completely gone out of the current preference list. The proportions of chips to cement, water content, laying profile and temperament were all highlighted via self demonstration. These classes made us romanticise about an era where the architect himself was the master builder.
An idea that spreads sustainable construction methods, was the re-use of custom shuttering.
Shell Roof / Flying Carpet - 2 rooms of the residence (masterbed and the bar) carry a trimmed concrete shell as the roof. The shuttering for this was FSC certified yellow cedar wood. Aesthetically this ensured beautiful grains on the underbelly. Post de-shuttering, 100% material was reused in wall panels, false ceiling and some door frames.
Jack Arch - Jack Arches were employed in 2 lounges on the 1st floor. Although the dimensions of the lounges were different a modular shuttering was designed to get more life out of the limited amount of shuttering ply brought to site