Story by Zalak Modi
Photography by Indrajit Sathe
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Multiple levels add volume and lend continuity to this house while an indoor water body lends serenity
Building a home, not a house, is one of the most important aspects of a project that architects must keep in mind. The design is only as good as it connection with those occupying that space.
Keeping this in mind, Prajacta Kadu, principal architect of New Delhi-based practice Arch Avenue has ensured that a sense of quietude prevails in Sushil Satwani's Indore house. The architect has used a water feature, white spaces and varying volumes so the family is connected to every part of the house.
A gulmohur tree (Delonix regia) is the focal point in the elevated lawn at the entrance. A whitewash dominates the exterior walls of the house with glass doors and mirrors punctuating the front wall.
"Instead of using one, full-length mirror, I have created a collage of mirrors to stylise the front wall and more importantly to channelise positive energy into the house," says Kadu. "An elevated plinth has also been created for the same purpose and doubles up as a basement."
While the multiple levels of the house are clearly demarcated from the outside, the interior varies between double-heights and split-levels. The doorway opens to a shallow pool, at the centre of which sits a white marble Buddha statue. The wall here has niches that allow water to run down its surface and collect in the pool below. The sound of the water lapping against white pebbles resonates throughout the house, creating a calm atmosphere. Part of the wall that hosts the niches has a mural of a peepul tree (Ficus religosa), recreating the scene of the Buddha's enlightenment.
"The pool forms the heart of the house," says the architect. "This area is visible from all the sides."
The ground floor doesn't have any walls that obstruct the view of the entire floor. While the informal seating is on the same level as the pool, the formal living, dining and the kitchen are on a split-level. Kadu has designed each space with different colours and textures, but by using acrylic partitions between the areas, she has connected the spaces without negating privacy.
A large sofa dominates the informal seating area even as the floor-to-ceiling glass walls ensure the room looks out to the front lawn. The steps to the split-level lead to the formal living, kitchen and dining areas. A skylight beyond the formal living space brings natural light into the temple nook at the end of the room. The kitchen and the dining form a continuous zone at the rear. The open kitchen's island is extended to serve the purpose of a breakfast table.
The first floor landing, used as a reading space, features a brick-clad wall to break the white tone of the mural and the white spaces of the ground level. The house's four bedrooms are spread over the first and the second levels.
"The owner wanted one bedroom on a lower floor with easy access to the kitchen and living area. The other bedrooms are located on the second floor," says the architect.
The theme in the children's bedroom plays out with a life-size painting of a cartoon character covering half a wall. A low, wall-to-wall bed ensures the room has free space.
In the master bedroom, a silver textured wall hosts a full-length mirror. Wooden flooring defines the seating area in this room. French windows open the room to the lawn's gulmohur tree. The master bathroom disguises the shower stall behind the basin and the dresser. The neutral colour tone is shattered by a burst of colours in the shower stall's tiles.
First published date: 17 March 2011
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