The site is located in a densely-populated lower middle-class residential neighbourhood, with homes nestling cheek by jowl. The footprint of the plot is a compact 1080 sq ft, with laws capping built-up at twice the plot area. Though the clients had the option to relocate to more congenial surroundings, their emotional and ancestral attachment to the site was very strong, and thus the decision to refurbish and redevelop their existing home.
This improvement, however, had to be done sensitively: projecting affluence through the architectural form or material usage were anathema, as that would result in a certain disassociation from the social fabric of the locality. The site is closed from three sides, with the fourth ‘free’ road-facing side to the north. This brought to the fore the challenge of reconciling the requirements of privacy, ventilation and daylight penetration.
The staircase block is located on the north and shielded for privacy by granite louvers that give a filtered view of the person using it. The one-sidedness of the façade is alleviated by creating tiny, and shallow offsets on either side of the building so that it appears to be free of its neighbours. The stair near the door extends outwards to create an ota, a gathering place, to keep the cultural connect alive. Directly above the entrance lies the white protruding cube, which accommodates the bedroom on the first level.
This, and the compact size of the plot, together birthed the design concept: a staggered section concept instead of a continuum of spaces, placed at every half-level. This arrangement saved circulation areas, and, consequently, facilitated the creation of terraces at various levels. This multifarious space performs the functions of a dining area, a pooja area and a circulation space.
Around the courtyard are arranged the living room, the kitchen, the children’s study areas (on the lower level) and three master suites. The doing away of circulation areas also facilitated the creation of a terrace above the kitchen, which gives natural light to the kitchen and natural ventilation to all toilets. Placement of toilet one above other effectively reduces the duct distribution. The spatial programme that pivoted around a central hollow volume resulted in enhanced connectivity and interactivity.
The material selection consciously veers towards familiar, comfortable choices to prevent alienating the home from the society both architecturally and psychologically. Of course, the strict budget, too, played a role in shaping the material selection. It was also filtered by colours, shahbad, kadappah, vitrified tiles, granite, cement sheets, the idea being to create a monochromatic play.
The palette also ropes in the contrast between the animate and the inanimate: a flourishing frangipani marks the plantation area at the edge of the plot. Cement sheets have been used as wardrobe shutters; internal shelving system has been fabricated out of MS frames and cement sheets; interesting textiles have been transformed into artworks, and parapets have been created out of MS sheets to save construction cost. Wash basins have been customized in granite.
Amruta Daulatabadkar is indulged into the forte of architectural, interior design, product design, landscape design, consultancy services. The founder of Amruta Daulatabadkar Architects, Aurangabad, Amruta completed her Bachelors in Architecture from MIT College, Aurangabad and done her professional practice from Edifice Architects, Pune. Later she joined Alkesh Gangwal & Associates as an architect in the year 2007 and honed her skills while working on several commercial, corporate and residential projects. Amruta is a visiting design faculty at Dr. Abdul Kalam College of Architecture in Aurangabad. An animal-lover by associating herself with numerous animal rescue programs, the lady has won Woman of the Year Award 2016 and of course, the young WADe INDIA Interior Designer of the Year 2017 at WADe Asia. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or can like her Facebook page @architectamrutadaulatabadkar
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