A house for a single woman in a 140 sq.m site. The client wanted a compact low-maintenance house with a relatively large garden. A response entailed a deeper understanding of the client’s needs which also involved challenging her ideas of what the house should be. Ultimately we decided to discard conventional segregated spaces within the house and opted for open flexible spaces addressing the client’s needs—Relaxing, Cooking, Sleeping and Gardening—as central to the design.
One enters the house directly into a double height cooking cum dining space which overlooks a garden in the front and double height private one at the back. This space forms the central core of the house and opens into two stacked flexible spaces—one a room in the ground floor for relaxing, entertaining and guests sleeping over and the other a play area for the grand-daughter which doubles up as a guest room. From the central volume one accesses a passage and a staircase with doors into two stacked private bedroom—one a master in the ground floor and the other a guest room above it. The stacked washrooms too are attached and shared in both floors.
Our approach of spatial flexibility allows the house to accommodate both the client’s daughters and an extra guest at the same time occasionally as well as avoid these from becoming dead spaces the rest of the year by doubling up for other uses. This also reduces the size of the house substantially bringing down the cost of building and ease of maintaining it. It is this same concern that led us to the brick, concrete, steel and other cheaper alternatives as the material. Masonry is allowed to dominate visually by avoiding beams and lintels, Concrete form the slabs as well as the finished floors in all rooms. Windows and Doors are of steel. Earthen pots are used in the filler slabs in the final roof. Reinforcement rods were used for the window grills and along with cinder for the compound wall. Overall these lend to a visually rich yet integrative spatial experience.
We’ve reinvented theconventional idea of the house being living, dining, kitchen, and bedroom with attached washroom. We’ve also re-imagined the public private relationship within the house based on our understanding of the client’s activities and requirements. This involved decisions like dispensing with the dining room altogether, a single master wash cum powder room in the ground floor, a single shared washroom in the upper floor and a multiple flexible spaces which double up as bedrooms, entertainment areas or play areas. This allowed for a larger much landscaped area and a small building footprint. We believe we’ve demonstrated a compelling alternative approach to city dwelling.