The Courtyard House
The site is situated on a land of 3150 sq ft and total construction of 8000 sq ft that sits just about the main road in Salumber, a town in Udaipur district of Rajasthan. The brief included designing for a family of 4 to 5 members.
The project was conceived with the idea of having a built mass that could catch an eye of the ones passing through the busy main road in an attempt to defy the local counterfactual notion of the house having to be built in a conventional way for it to be inclusive of the spatial needs, efficiency and climate responsiveness. The west-facing façade with its concrete textures and tones forms an entrance to the Residence and the commercial space on the Ground floor level. The overall design was a creative urge to generate a mood through appropriate natural lighting. The House comprises of two courtyards on the first floor level. First one, placed in the northern façade, forms the central courtyard ensuring the seamless flow of nature in the interior living spaces.
A local black stone renders the walls of living spaces, providing balance and the soothing calm needed from the bright glare of the Rajasthan sun entering through the courtyards and other considerably large openings. The second courtyard was formed to provide a spill over open space to the master bedroom with an added element of water in the form of a lotus pond. It further allows the set back for the drawing area from the blazing western façade.
In an attempt to provide a varied open space for the west facing bedroom on the first floor level, a balcony is projected 10 ft from the façade. To further enhance the experience of being cantilevered, glass has been used on three sides to blur the lines of being connected to the main built mass. The protruding mass fabricates a play of shadow for the front façade which in-turn saves the Master Bedroom wall below from heating up. The Built mass stands with a setback of 12 ft on the rarer side which facilitates natural light and ventilation to the recreational activities on ground floor level that also houses outdoor mini pool. T
o harness the aesthetic beauty of concrete textures, cladding of serene concrete panels has been done in the front façade. The bold Concrete finish is accompanied by the permeable composition of metal sections setting out wind flow along with natural light onto the interior spaces. The boldness of the concrete plane is interrupted by fragmented openings that forms voids in walls for the courtyard area behind. The interior welcomes you through a 28 ft long walkway, allowing a moment of pause from the bold concrete planes as a cantilevered RCC staircase further leads to living spaces on first floor level. Indoor spaces were thought of considering that even the simplest of spaces, when treated deftly, can be equally charming and provocative.
A positive in design is the conscious effort to ensure the continuity of experience created through courtyards further as we move towards the private spaces. As an outcome of the thought, the passage and transition spaces accommodate pockets of plantation on both ground and first floor levels. The landscape within promotes the experience of green living in the urban scenario. Provision of sky light in the bathroom spaces corroborates the idea of conserving the inflow of nature within the spaces. Colour palette in the shades of blues and grey is used that compliments the boldness of the black stone. The aesthetic beauty of the walls rendered in black stone, was retained by not adding any further panelling and instead using large paintings as big as 8’ in size. Painting were customized in the tones of yellow, black and greys to suit the enviors.
Since Rajasthan offers a variety of local stones, a local Black stone available in the proximity of 2 kms was extensively used with the combination of white marble and Kota stone flooring, materials also locally and easily available in the state. Making the best us of natural sources and using locally available materials and manpower was the key approach of the brief. With use of wood in the interiors, a lot of MDF and Fexiply has been used in the making of partitions, bed, side tables and other furniture combined with lamination paints and finishes. Gypsum has been used for creating false ceiling where necessary. Two main ducts cater to all the services in an optimized manner.
The earthquake resistant RCC frame structure comprises of brick walls enclosing the spaces with apparently beamless slabs. Spatial arrangement, considering the climatology and use of natural ways of providing light and ventilation, reduce the use of mechanical ways of air conditioning that aid sustainability. Ambient and mood lighting has been preferred over excess lighting. One can say that the house is a collage of individual aspirations and design ideologies. Each space has been closely detailed with the member and tailored to suit their briefs. Recapitulating the design approach, the project was a curious attempt to create a piece of architecture that is stripped off its non, essentials, reduced only to its basic elements.