This is a 4400 sqft residential project undertaken by S Squared Architects on a 7.8 Are land located near TechnoPark , Trivandrum for a family of two IT professionals. One of the distinctive demands that the clients approached S Squared Architects with was that, the house was to emulate a revived Mediterranean character. This was quite a unique challenge faced by the team as each region develops its own architecture as a result of various social, cultural and climatic interpretations of the region. So the design/architectural elements had to impart the character and charm of a Mediterranean bungalow and at the same time had to work perfectly in the warm, wet and humid climatic belt.
A study on the similarities and
differences of climate and housing strategies of both climatic belts helped the
architects to know how such a style could be adopted into the tropical belt. According to Koppen – Geiger climatic
studies, it was found that Mediterranean and humid subtropical have generally
similar climates, that vary in their details. Precipitation
varies more between these climate types than any other factor. The rainfall of
the humid subtropical climate is more and for this reason, Mediterranean
climates are sometimes called
dry subtropical climates.
Sunshades and shading devices play a major role in protecting the opening against rain but these features had to be avoided to retain the Mediterranean style of building. The solution developed as a result of this was indeed a simple one. The roof slab was projected less than the prescribed width and made inconspicuous by giving a cornice treatment that would support the Mediterranean narrative. And the rest of the offset in shading was achieved by using thicker load bearing walls with the windows inset. In the South, the wall width used is as high as 18 inches that would also give the required thermal mass to slow down the temperatures of the hot summers into the living spaces of the house. The thick walls also helped to create an aura of the old construction technology used that imparts a timeless charm to the arches.
The building is designed in three levels to mitigate the issues of insensitive excavation. The level difference inside the house is kept minimal while more has been given in the entry steps outside. This also helps to elevate the massing of the house. The car porch is done as a separate structure and connected to the main house through an arcaded verandah. The entry porch is up scaled from the rest of the arches with stone cladding on either side to form a welcoming focal element in the facade of the house.
The double height foyer space with a barrel vault ceiling uplifts the tone of the spatial experience of the house upon entry with its scale, grandeur and view. The formal drawing room to its right is also a vaulted 4.5 m high space with grand arched windows with view to the outdoor patio at the back. A faux stone cladded fire place with a wooden ledge used as a decorative element forms the main focal element of the room. The dining room placed in the same axis is a place meant to treat guests only. The family spends most of their time in the family living with the open kitchen attached to it. The open kitchen is a fully equipped space with a breakfast counter to one end and an island at the centre.