First home for the urban routine while site context in countryside may be one of the emerging paradoxes of urban lifestyle of recent times. Somewhat parallel to the North American suburban living urban working concepts. Shukla residence, about an hour’s drive from city, is one such paradoxical programmatic combination to design a living environments where fancies of land based living are to be met with daily conveniences and yet within compact built form.
Client: Dr. Ketan shukla
Year: February 2012
Architectural design: Yatin Pandya (Footprints earth)
Structural design: Kautuk Ruwala
Landscape design: Mukund Padshala
Contractor: Devang safi (Shail enterprise)
Photography : Kartik Rathod
Living in a country house is an event. An experience. The experiential journey begins right at the gate. Entrance space is baffled by long, freestanding, man height, exposed brick feature wall with water, vegetation and cut outs. With falling water, fragrant vegetation, niche lighting all senses get alerted at the entry. Cut out gives the glimpse of the house tucked in the rear part of the plot and yet conceals the most of its form and scale. The wall guides the movement towards circular pathway. Low landscaped mound along the tree lined vegetated curvilinear path continues to obscure view of the residence by and large with only chance glimpses from between vegetation foliages maintaining curiosity. The porch entry from the east affords the first clear view of the structure which is only part revelation. Nature continues to intersperse within built to offer very smooth transition from outside to inside. For example, entrance ramp spans over the water body with transparent glass as floor to see through and feel floating over lotuses. The planters with natural vegetation continue even in the entrance space within the house with skylight cut outs above. The entrance axis culminates into an internal courtyard with glow of light. This gives visual and physical continuity to all living spaces of the house and smooth transition from outdoors to indoors. Courtyard becomes the nodal point around which family space and two bedrooms cluster. Formal drawing, dining, water body and veranda form the perpendicular axis. Again uninterrupted in views or movement. The curved wall of the Northern face guides the views and movement to landscaped garden outdoors. Exposed concrete wall bisects the house laterally to conceal bedroom, kitchen and services. It also emphasises and accentuates the linearity of the space by culminating to vegetated court. Linear stair with cantilevered steps from concrete wall also maintains the flow and directionality. All rooms including toilets extend their spaces physically and visually outdoors in a court, veranda or garden. Curvilinear roofs give kinaesthetic experiences by shifting visual compositions as well as modulated scale within the living spaces. All rooms are lit through skylights as wall washers, ceiling floaters or alcove definers.
Environmental comfort is also integrated in spatial resolutions. Whether building orientation with south west for night time versus northeast for daytime living activity zoning, its massing with taller south west and terraced northeast for mutual shading, interspersed multiple courtyards for light and air, water feature enveloping the living spaces along with landscaping for microclimate comfort, self ventilated cavity wall construction, roof level skylights and ventilators for cross ventilation and evacuation of hot air, all complement to create climate friendly conditions through fundamental principles of design. Preferences for natural exposed brick and un plastered concrete for walls, natural stone for floor surfaces and china mosaic for roofs and terraces complement the concerns for local, natural and handcrafted materials. Design also provides for, as a conscious spatial decision, role of local craft, may it be narrative painting or terracotta tiles or patterned mosaic or artefact sculpting.
Thus architecture here is a sum total of art, craft, culture, climate and construction.