Morphogenesis meaning “generation of the form” is honored by ‘Images Publishing’ Australia under their world-renowned Master Architect Series, a first for an Indian firm. Set up by Manit Rastogi and Sonali Rastogi in 1996, Morphogenesis is one of India’s leading award-winning Architecture and Urban Design practices with offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and New Delhi, India. Their significant contribution in shaping the changing landscape of Asia made them the first Indian firm to be awarded the Singapore Institute of Architects Getz Award.

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The Design Core

Reinterpreting India’s architectural roots with sustainability as the cell, the basic structural and functional unit, which generate the form of each project considering the end-users is the core ideology of Morphogenesis. Reducing the energy consumption up to 50 percent lesser energy than certified by Green building benchmarks through passive design and microclimate creation, proven through post-occupancy evaluation, is the goal of Morphogenesis. Celebrating identity and diversity, Morphogenesis ensures all their projects are unique, responding to the client, climate, context, and the end-users.

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The Art House, New Delhi

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The Art House in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone in New Delhi, by Morphogenesis, truly encompasses the values put forward by Morphogenesis. Starting from the initial client brief to the ultimate end-user experience, this 17,000 Sq.ft residence beautifully crafted in the 2300.00 Sq.mt. of land is truly a masterpiece of creative site planning. The client statement is interpreted as a home for great patrons of art who wanted their home to be a backdrop for their art collection. The site restrictions and the composite climate developed a different site story to take the initial decisions. The challenging site planning and layout paved the way to a mind-blowing creation of a piece of art. Two curved planes enclosing a green space with bigger rectilinear blocks offsetting the curved lines make the initial design take. Everything seems to impart a minimalistic touch to the one experiencing the art and waking the inborn artist.

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The view to the art should be enhanced and lit naturally, minimizing the energy dependence. The thinking minds of morphogenesis choreographed the artwork on clear, large walls which, effectively utilizes nature’s spotlight. The entry foyer on the ground floor leads to the wall of artifacts which is backlit and stands amidst the courtyard. All the common areas are set in an ecological backdrop with hints of foliage. The glass façade brings in the outdoor. It facilitates transparency and visual integration of the outside greenery with the interior spaces. The idea of a transparent boundary enhances the artwork and creates a natural installation wall in the interior. The depth of any structure or any artwork is underlined by light. The glass wall serves a prominent role in controlling the amount of natural light entering combined with the overall skin.

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The color palette chosen for the design is a response to the local climate and ecology while remaining economically viable and globally pertinent. Shades of white, grey, and brown manifested in the landscape design also create a subtle pastel color palette. The rectilinear areas hug the stone, while speckles of brown are noticeable in the large deck spaces and terrace gardens on the first floor with shaded areas. By operating beyond the traditional precincts whilst addressing the user brief and aspiration and building to perfection, Morphogenesis shapes the Art house. A transparent vista runs across the house with a shallow water body to display various artistic sculptures that depict the client’s love for art. The Art house tells the story of who the client is, and the house itself is a collection of what they love.

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Responding to the Context 

Delhi is a city that serves as the testimonial of various period pieces. Its architectural heritage, culture, the visual evidence of its multifaceted characters together decide the landscape of this ever-changing city. The extremely wealthy bungalows of Lutyens and the vocabulary of the past architectural style scribbles the thinking process of Art house in another era. Keeping in mind the beauty of the Mughal architecture style combined with the construction techniques of Hindu architecture responding to the complexity of the landscape of Delhi. Redefining the elements from a different time to suit the need of today is the challenge. The Art house is truly an expression of the acceptance of this challenge.

The indoor and outdoor dining with a private garden in the Art house is an architectural memory of the past. For design solutions to be indigenously tailored, there is a need for Morphogenesis to probe its potential existence in its local climatic, social, cultural, and geographical context. Its success is measured by an indigenous green evaluation scheme. While the design seed is rooted in socio-cultural consciousness, the practice thrives on optimizing a project by examining it based on its first principles. For a project to be close to net-zero or off the grid, its local conditions are to be examined carefully. The Art-house as a porous object permeated by natural ventilation and the sun’s rays along with the green wall and the swimming pool in the north bringing in cool air are strategies of sustainable design criteria followed by Morphogenesis.

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REFERENCES LIST 

Rastogi, M. and, Rastogi S. (2017). Morphogenesis: The Indian Perspective. the Global Context. Delhi: Images Publishing.

Art House, New Delhi by Morphogenesis Architects. [online]. (Last updated: if this information is available). Available at: https://architecturelive.in/art-house-delhi-by-morphogenesis-architects/ [Accessed 11 July 2019].

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Author

She is an architecture student hailing from the small state of Kerala, in India. Writing has always been a passion for her and combined with designing, became the underlying rationale which led to the field of architecture. The thought provoking stories told by buildings and their surrounding environments brews her to be a storyteller.

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