Studios 18, are eighteen residential apartments located on an undulating site in the deserts of Ras, Rajasthan, India. These apartments are spread out, over an area of 36 acres. The layout is influenced by the organic structure of the neighbouring villages with interspersed residential units, connected with streets, branched out from the main road, leading towards the parking lot, in the site. The residents, here are the workers of the cement manufacturing plant which is situated, within the vicinity of the site.
The layout of these 3-levelled residential apartments represents the organic nature of ancient Indian cities that pushes the residences back, connecting them with adjoining corridors throughout. The 4m contour level difference is handled to maximum benefit with a gradual step down in building levels with the contours.
The architect has been empathetic towards the hot arid climate prevailing throughout the location with temperatures rising over 35°C during the 8-months of summer. Hence, keeping the orientation of low-rise apartments, either towards the north or the northeast or the northwest with none facing the south.
The interconnected circulation spaces are naturally ventilated with an abstract composition of square punctures within walls on either side, facilitating air movement. The direct heat of the Sun is obstructed, allowing natural daylight within the linear corridors through these square openings creating interesting patterns during different times of the day.
The linear corridors create an engaging experience by interconnecting the apartments and providing a well-ventilated, covered walkway giving the residents a peek at the surrounding landscaped spaces on the site. Even the apartments are cross-ventilated by deeply recessed windows and open to sky terraces.
Colour plays a crucial role in the design. The inspiration for colour-coding different volumes of spaces, in the design, is taken from the State where the site is, i.e., Rajasthan.
Rajasthan is one of the most colourful states in India. Not only do the natives wear bright coloured attires with shining jewellery, but also the cities are colour-coded. Udaipur is known as The White City, as it is home to innumerable lakes and structures with marble architecture. Jodhpur is known as the blue city, as the homes of natives are in hues of blue lime plaster. Jaipur, known as the pink city, as the buildings here, are painted with terracotta pink; and Jaisalmer is known as the golden city, due to the houses built in yellow sandstone and also because of the Thar desert, which appears in the hues of gold, brown and yellow.
Colours, used in the design, add merit to the visual impact. The deconstructed cubes sport varied hues of the sandy region, at different times of the day – visually differentiating the stepped, recessed volumes, as well as identifying circulation spaces. With lighter hues on external walls to reflect heat off the surfaces and darker tones indoors to create a cooling feel, they add impact to the highly ‘responsive’ design solution.
Studios 18 is a contextually designed housing project that is sustainable by its design, complies with the site contours, and orients in a way, to reduce heat gain, facilitating natural light and ventilation.