Built on a tight 170 sqm plot for a family of four Maison Kochi also functions as studio and office in the South Indian city of Kochi. The west facing building is delineated in 2 volumes, the taller south-west block shading the shorter north-east one throughout the day. Living spaces are arranged in the shorter block while staircases and toilets face south or west to buffer the heat. An open plan arrangement and perforated net windows ensure ventilation across rooms. A vent in the roof access hatch cools the house with its chimney effect.

Project Name: Maison Kochi
Architecture Firm: Meister Varma Architects
Office Website: www.meistervarma.in
Contact Email: meistervarmaarch@gmail.com
Completion Year: 2018
Built Area: 1700 sft
Project Location: Cochin, Kerala, India
Photographer: Praveen Mohandas, Govind Nair (drone photography)
Design Team: Krishnan Varma, Vanessa Meister, Sruthi Vijay, Sonia Stephen, Saumya Joseph
Structural Design: Rao & Associates
Plumbing Design: GR Engineers
Lighting: Interstellar

Maison Kochi by Meister Varma Architects - Sheet3
© Praveen Mohandas, Govind Nair

Rainwater channels are integrated in the roof design as are solar panels. Collected water is used to recharge the groundwater through an injection system. Flat roofs are insulated with hollow clay blocks and sloping roofs with polyurethane sandwich panels.

Maison Kochi by Meister Varma Architects - Sheet4
© Praveen Mohandas, Govind Nair

The building is conceived as a chiaroscuro – a white solid exterior leading to cool interiors finished in polished cement. An open plan arrangement on both floors makes the interior spaces blend into each other seamlessly. Wall to ceiling windows enhance this flow as does the continuous black oxide floor. Windows are designed in steel and doors use bison board panelling. Bathrooms are finished in colourful ferrous oxide with lamps and counters cast in place.

Maison Kochi by Meister Varma Architects - Sheet5
© Praveen Mohandas, Govind Nair

Almost all interior objects and furnishings are custom-made down to the brass switch plates. Furnishings like cushion covers and curtains utilise the minimalist lines of Kerala saris and soften the cement walls. Traditional urban crafts like cane cycle boxes are inspiration for multi-coloured baskets that hold everything from blankets to diapers.


Krishnan qualified as an architect from the S.P.A, New Delhi and gained experience in major office and retail projects in the Capital region. An interest in urban design and masterplanning led him to do his post-graduation from ETH Zürich and then onto London.

In London he worked on many prestigious projects including the Athletes Village for the 2012 London Olympics and schools for the BSF programme initiated by the UK government.

Upon his return to India he started Meister Varma Architects – a multidisciplinary design firm focussed on site specific, design led solutions for the residential and hospitality sector. Their projects have been recognized and published in various digital and print media like Condé Nast and Archdaily. Since 2013 Krishnan is also actively engaged in restoration of heritage buildings in partnership with German architect Karl Damschen.

2011-   Meister Varma Architects, Kochi 2010    David Miller Architects, London 2008    Glenn Howells Architects, Birmingham 2007    MAS, ETH, Zürich

2006   ABRD Architects, New Delhi

2005    B.Arch, School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi


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