Taking on the challenge faced by all city houses in Delhi – maximizing FAR while developing a distinctive façade – mold has successfully delivered a building, well in line with the owners’ brief requirement of a ‘family home’ unlike the standard soulless models practiced nowadays of an identical monotonous façade across all floors.

The UMBER HOME, New Delhi
Architects- Mold design studio | Anika Mittal DHAWAN
Location– Malcha Marg, New Delhi, India
Area– 12000 sq.ft
Project Completion Year– February 2018
Photographs–  Andre J Fanthome, Randhir singh
Architecture- Anika Mittal Dhawan | Mold Design Studio

Umber home by mold design studio - Sheet 4As a measure to enhance the perceptibility of spaces from the outside, the geometric facade emerges from the monolithic design with dynamic subtractions to capture natural light, facilitate ventilation and enhance visual depth. In an effort to remain additive to the street, the top floor has been set back thereby reducing the scale of the building for the overall volume to seem like a monolith of two floors sitting atop the ground floor, which itself is inset. Pre-meditated as an object in its entirety, the architecture, interior design and décor, were all devised from scratch, cohesively, merging the inside to the outside seamlessly while endowing a unique identity.

Umber home by mold design studio - Sheet 5The house is dressed in shades of copper. Clad in Dholpur stone with its deep-faded beige and the elemental highlights of copper to detach the ground floor from the upper monolithic volume, the form irradiates under the vibrant sun of Delhi. The gleaming railings and a top band further tie the entire façade together.

Conceptually derived from the copper cladding pattern on the ground floor, the balconies render themselves as elements that integrate the façade into a cohesive entity. Conceived to break the form and create a dynamic play, the copper and stone together bathe the street with vernacular colors of Delhi and with a glow that seems innate to the opaque materials. The shimmering copper is placed to fade through the years to merge harmoniously with the stone and then, gracefully age to reflect a blue-green finish, adding a disparate image, grain and memory, reflective of age of the house and passing time. Further, Copper is a highly sustainable material- with about 80% recyclable value, durable, low in terms of maintenance requirements and with a long life, while providing diversity in color and texture is hence an appropriate choice.

Umber home by mold design studio - Sheet 6The seamless monochromatic blend defining the approach towards the house, consequential of the building’s facade, flows from outside to define the atmosphere of interior spaces. Simple and linear, the design revolves around the front garden/lawn, which is a rare urban opportunity these days in Delhi. It provides a foreground and a breathable green space, to create a healthy transition from the street to the verandah.

The entertainment activities are planned on the ground floor, to maximize the utility and view of the front garden, so that they can directly open out into the green space. Designed to provide an end to end visual integrity, with green cover placed at the boundaries to gently confine the activities, provide privacy and create a sense of enclosure. The layout of the floor has been planned to create maximum openness so that the garden and built space become an extension of each other allowing activities to flow seamlessly from one edge to the other. The design and materials of the boundary wall merge with the inside outside landscape.

Umber home by mold design studio - Sheet 1The key requirement placed before mold was to design a single unit such that it could be easily divided into independent floors with similar programmes to cater to unpredictable future requirements. Addressing this, the house has been designed as a single unit house over four floors, for a multi-generational family and the residence is conceived as a unified space while still respecting individual spaces. The living areas are divided over the first and second floors, while the top floor is designed as an independent, self-sufficient unit. The open space in the center unifies all the floors, while providing a relief that brings in natural light & also an opportunity to create a sculptural element. The juxtaposition of the double height space with the open to sky cutout creates an interesting play of volumes.

The master bedrooms on two floors are designed as suites with walk in closets and dressers. The rooms have full frontage that maximizes the views of the green foliage outdoors, while bringing in maximum sunlight along with fantastic tree top views of the facing park.

Designed as a multi-functional space on the first floor, the family lounge opens up the first floor, and can be modified to become the guest room when required, by a simple sliding folder and customizable furniture that opens up to a bed when needed. Together with the double height space, the family lounge also creates a relief on the first floor and the ground floor.  All rooms, bathrooms and the kitchen are designed to get maximum light through full height windows & high ceilings, while integrating all services which are essential to a good project. Simple in design, the use of wooden soffit contrasting with the stone flooring, glass railings and the wooden handrail, allows the folded plate staircase to become a feature in itself while achieving the intent of making the space larger. The materiality for all interiors flooring, and ceiling etc. is kept muted, in line with clients’ preferences and to offset the interior design and décor. The lighting design along with the inference of natural light accentuates the interiors and the collection of artwork that the clients owned. Further the experience is elevated, as the entire lighting in the entertainments areas is controlled by automation, which further helps in creating a great user experience and also give the user opportunities to create different mood settings at different times.

To construct a rhythmic language of the spaces, the texture of outside spaces is carried within, with use of copper, wood and beige flooring. Thus, the building crafts a coherent experience that captivates a person’s senses from the street, define a playfield of spatial experiences that rope him in to the hearth of the house, all this while remaining consistent in their experience and identity. The design boasts of fluid spaces, clean lines and natural color tones.

Umber home by mold design studio - Sheet 2The Umber home is a testament, that despite several constraints, a modern house in Delhi can be conceived as responsible architecture, that responds to its surroundings, delivers to personal and collective expectations of a dwelling, and construes a language of spaces that transcends original functions to include dialogues on the monumental aspects of architecture; to resonate within the lives of its inhabitants and inform their lifestyle with a unique composition, that spans generations.

ARCHITECT: Anika Mittal Dhawan

Anika Mittal Dhawan is an Architect and an Urban Designer with over 14 years of experience across all the facets of design and construction industry in India and UK. Graduated from Sushant School of Art & Architecture, New Delhi and MSc in urban design from the Bartlett, UCL, London, she is the founding director of mold design studio, a multidisciplinary architecture and urban design practice based out of New Delhi. Through mold design studio she is providing comprehensive solutions across all stages of design and construction. She is also the co-founding partner of Amalgam, a design studio that specializes in using the traditional Indian craft of inlay to redefine the contemporary Indian aesthetic.


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