Vernacular Architecture teaches the art of perceiving and responding to our immediate environment, a concept that does not alienate the community of its context. Here is one of the examples where the Pune based architect, Anand Kulkarni and his team from Qdesign have made an earnest effort to employ the principles of Vernacular Architecture in a true sense in one of their recently completed projects – KRUPACHAYA, Farm House for Prasad Kulkarni at Kule.
A project on the banks of Walki river, spreading over a land of 2.5 acres (10,000 sq.m.) located at village Kule, Tal Mulshi, around 35 km on the western side of Pune city. The site was surrounded by fertile farmland with paddy fields, coconut and mango plantations.
With regards to the natural look the client requested using the concept of Konkan architecture. The Konkan house typically comprises of house made in red laterite stone, commonly known as Chira. There was an existing mango tree which was gifted to the client by King of Nepal. The mango tree was conceptualised as the epicentre of the house, the complete built form was planned around the tree in such a way that it became an intrinsic part of the design vocabulary. An open space in the form of a Kund, with stepped seating was designed keeping the Mango tree at its centre. The central Kund is surrounded by habitable spaces. Living room on northern side, kitchen and dining on southern side and bed on western side separated by a passage connecting living and kitchen. The living room is buffered on eastern and western side by large verandahs (Padwi).
The changing shadow patterns owing to the use of glass tiles in the roof, create lively spaces. Toilets and kitchen are designed on the southern side acting as a buffer to the main living spaces. The area around the tree designed as a kund, is a square space with the tree in the center with stepped seating all around. It gives quiet corners to some, a contemplative, meditative space to others, whereas a vibrant steeped play space to the younger lot.
Laterite stone was sourced from Dapoli, also helped in keeping the interior temperature five degrees lower than the outside in peak summers and warmer in winters, indeed a triple gain!! All the work was carried out by the local labourers who enjoyed working in this big sized brick as opposed to the regular brickwork! In response to the heavy rains in the region, the house was designed with sloping roofs towards eastern and northern side to reduce direct heat gain from south and west. Roofing done in double layered terracotta tiles acts as insulation. In between are the glass tiles punctuating at strategic locations to let in day light. No artificial lighting is required due to the skylight designed in the kitchen and living area.
External areas like Kund and part of the padwi are covered with black kadappa, to create contrast with red laterite stone on the surrounding walls. All the doors and staircase were made out of the mango tree planks which were salvaged from the tree affected by lightning two years back. To achieve the rustic look in the woodwork, carpenters were brought from a village Umbraj near Karad in the southern part of Maharashtra. The straight flight staircase is a feature in the passage. Dining table and seating made of a 75 mm thick wood plank salvaged from a tree trunk of Acacia tree found on the site. Laterite stone was left unplastered from inside and outside to retain the rustic look of the interiors. Internal surfaces were coated with lacquer paint to increase the life of the stone. The flooring of all the rooms was done in rough yellow Sahabad stone to continue the same natural rustic look.
Extending the idea further, all the basins in the attached toilet are carved out of a block of basalt 550x500x250 stone. Basin near dining area is carved out of an irregular stone found on site. All the switch boards are made up of wood with the old style Khosla switches on the switch boards and the artificial lighting was done with the traditional handis. One of the salient qualities of Vernacular Architecture is to evoke delight in the user and the viewers too. To achieve pleasurable/ enchanting living experience, architect designed double height spaces, views opening to the kund, Outdoor lighting in terracotta lamps and captured views of the river from the bedroom on the upper storey as well. A special effort was made to design the facia of the roof, highlighted by a panipatti (eaves board) in 1.5 mm thick MS sheet cut to desired profile by laser cutting, painted in white enamel paint to create contrast with red laterite and terracotta roofing tiles, with the apex highlighted through a terracotta.
Project: KRUPACHAYA, Farm House for Mr. Prasad Kulkarni at Kule
Architect firm: Ar. Anand Kulkarni, Q-design, Pune (www.qdesign.in)
Project architect: Ar. Pankaj Puranik
Area: 1900 sqft
Project year: 2016
Photography: Ar. Atul Kanetkar, Shantanu Rao
Products/ Brands: Tata steel, Saint Gobain, Jaquar, Asian Paints, Jindal Aluminium
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