We believe that architecture is a response to many parameters, context, site, vegetation, geography, and climate. Constructing in a dry, arid place like Bharuch, the heat, locally referred to as “loo” in Gujarati was a big such parameter that the architecture had to factor in. When designing a home, it is important to acknowledge many practical parameters of comfort; for Cool House, the hurdle was particularly tackling the summer heat. The name Cool House originated from the way the house has been designed, a respite in the summer, a trees shade under the scorching sun, the house as in the words of our clients – like a funnel that canals all of Bharuch’s wind into the house, making it a cool, comfortable sanctuary to live in.
Project Name: Cool House
Office Name: Samira Rathod Design Atelier
Office Website: www.srda.co
Firm Location: Mumbai
Completion Year: 2022
Gross Built Area (m2/ ft2): 10,500 sq. ft.
Project Location: Bharuch
Program / Use / Building Function: House
Lead Architects: Samira Rathod
Team- Jay Shah (Project Architect)
Project Management- HR Constructions. Mitesh Jadav
Structural Consultant- Rajeev Shah
Photo Credits: Niveditaa Gupta
Designed like a path with rooms on either side, the house is punctured vertically forming two courtyards on either side of the central path like a corridor. The courtyards begin from the first floor and highlight the skies from the house. Located within a tight row house fabric in the town, we were encouraged to design the house like a box, rather inward looking with windows that strategically bring in the cool breeze, diffuse the sharp sunlight, and draw focus away from the lackluster views outdoors. The south facade is fairly simple and wind is allowed to pass from the southwest courtyards and escape from the north east courtyard, ventilating the entire house.
One courtyard has a shallow waterbody that cools the incoming wind before it enters the house. This courtyard also has a jaali (lattice) that allows the wind to channel through and flood the house with a whiff of cool breeze on a summer afternoon. The other courtyard houses trees on the first floor, creating context for the house from within and allowing internal windows to view the tree crowns. Although inward looking, there is a constant choreography of internal and external movement within the house where the courtyards are found, and can step out to them from the central track.
To help bat the heat, the house also has thick external walls and a cool soothing interior done in lime “chuno” that helps cool the rooms from within. The house portrays contemporary architecture that heavily relies on our innate knowledge of the climate and materials that withstand such harsh climates. The box-like exterior of the house has a unique composition, one painted black and the other very tactile using small custom cute siporex bricks; the semantic makes the logic of a path corridor and volumes on either sides very evident. Small pockets have been identified within the mass that punctures it and green is allowed to grow from within.
The ‘Cool House’ in Bharuch has been a surprise for us all. Although everything has been consciously designed within the house, the breeze in the house at the peak of summer has really blown us away, literally and figuratively.