India, in its essence, has always embraced diverse housing typologies owing to its geographical, cultural, social and economical distinctions. The country, however, saw a significant change in its housing patterns since the genesis of urbanization and global exchange of technology and materials. Since then, the housing typologies have started becoming indistinguishable, with a similar adaption of the process, construction system and spatial disposition into the designs, irrespective of the site and context.
However, some architects seek to design reasonably, by being considerate towards the underlying requirements, objectives and the context of the design process of housing.
Given below are 10 such examples of exceptional housing designs in India.
1. Housing for Mahouts and their Elephants
Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan
Architect: RMA Architects
This low-income housing not only caters to a distinctive set of dwellers, the mahouts and the elephants, but it also makes a conscious effort in creating a symbiotic relationship between the built and the regenerated landscape in the site. The housing units are disintegrated relatively throughout the site in sets of four, with courtyards in the centre generating a communal space for the residents while the rooms of the elephants are adjoining these housing units however they open up to the opposite side of the courtyards. The inclusion of water reservoirs into the design facilitated the ideal amount of water for the use of elephants and to regenerate the biodiversity of the space.
2. Kanchanjunga Apartments
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Architect: Charles Correa
Complementing the urban context it is sited in, the Kanchanjunga Apartments is a 28 storeyed apartment building, comprising four typologies of apartments. The implementation of displaced levels developed overlooking yet secluded space while the large suspended terrace gardens provided to each apartment ensured the protection of living spaces from the heavy monsoon and heat. The design exhibits the modern style of architecture however takes it’s inspirations from traditional Indian style, therefore making an ideal composition catering to functions, climate, context and culture.
3. CIDCO Housing
Location: Navi-Mumbai, Maharashtra
Architect: Raj Rewal and Associates
This low-cost housing provides one and two-room dwellings for its residents, the population belonging to the lower economic group, and provides them with an inhabitable environment with basic amenities which is tough for them to attain in the urban context of Navi-Mumbai. The units are approximately 20 – 100 sq. m. in area, incorporated in 1 to 3 storey buildings spread across the site in six typologies, all linked through extensive road network with minimal parking facilities. The design also includes courtyards for interaction along with commercial and institutional spaces.
4. Stacked student housing
Location: Belgaum, Karnataka
Architect: Thirdspace Architecture Studio
Though perceived as a unitary mass on a hundred square metre site from outside, this housing is an integration of displaced levels, creating private and semi-private spaces for 29 students who live in this building. Having a floor height of barely 2.4 metres with several alterations in the employed material, and minimum finishing and furnishing, made the project cost-effective, while still providing a liveable and healthy environment to the users. On the contrary, the exterior through its stark façade distinguishes the structure from the surrounding while maintaining the privacy of the residents.
5. Vasant Vihar Residence
Location: New Delhi
Architect: Vir.Mueller Architects
As located in a seismic zone and densely surrounded by a residential area, this housing gives a significant response to this context, though it’s structural as well as spatial conception. The structure integrates three apartments, two of which are duplexes, along with common open spaces for interaction, with all the spaces obtaining adequate light and ventilation, and the brick masonry facilitating the creation of patterns of light and shadows over the surfaces. This housing provides a classic example of the incorporation of essential factors for a healthy living which generally gets neglected in urban life.
6. Amanora Future Towers
Location: Pune, Maharashtra
The Future Towers caters to a diverse set of users of the city and therefore provides a variety of units with distinctive spatial disposition and areas as per the requirements, all amalgamated to become a single massive structure. The housing units, their planning, and the public spaces incorporated within the structure are a response to the comprehensive study of the Indian household and it’s conduct. The design also administers adequate ventilation, cultural and community sustenance, and introduces a different take towards the mass housing in an urban context.
7. Incremental Housing at Belapur
Location: Navi – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Architect: Charles Correa
This project was a response to the high-density population of the urban scenario, conveying how low rise structures to are capable to cater to such a context while also providing adequate spaces. With five housing typologies and two cluster patterns, this housing design created an ideal setting, with each house having its private courtyard and the integration of seven such housing units forming a common courtyard in the centre, hence providing both, private as well as communal spaces.
8. Parkside retirement homes
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka
The Parkside retirement homes provide 1 and 2 bhk housing units exclusively for senior citizens, and hence all the spaces in the design are accessible through wheelchairs. With every floor comprising various public and semi-public activities while maintaining a visual connection through the central atrium, the design ensures an interactive and favourable environment for the users. The structure barely reveals it’s the association of users and spaces from outside, rather it only exposes the balconies of the housing units.
9. Sublime Ordinariness Housing Project
Location: Vasind, Maharashtra
The design is a contemporary manifestation of the typology of chawl, having a common corridor connecting the four apartments on each flat, and a staircase at one end however a tinge of aesthetics have been added to these elements, making them more engaging and harmonised. All these corridors overlook a courtyard devised in the centre of the site, supplementing the values of community interaction of India.
10. Design.I.Y. Housing
Location: Lonavala, Maharashtra
Architect: S+PS Architects
The design process of this project involved the generation of a matrix, which provides options for the buyers to decide how they want their houses to be, however under the particular spectrum provided by the architects in the matrix for elements such as windows, gardens, screens, types of floorings and staircases. Therefore, this housing project was a combination of varying sized housing units governed by the wants of the residents but corresponded through the theme, parameters and spatial disposition incorporated by the architects along with the green buffers and pocket communal spaces provided between the housing units.