The home is located in the outskirt of Bangalore at the edge of the garden around the park adjoining a lake.
Project Name: Residence for Charis
Studio Name: Biome Environmental Solutions
Site Area: 4064 sft (378 sqm)
Built up Area: 2800 sft (260 sqm)
Year of completion: 2013
Design Team: Chitra Vishwanath, Anurag Tamhankar
Consultants: Mesha Structural Consultants
Contractors: Naveen KB, K. Ravi and team
Photo Credits: Vivek Muthuramalingam, Gautam Vishwanath
Since the plot is a corner one the home is designed so that it can be viewed from both the sides. As one walks around the building it reveals its characters, punctured wall with windows of various size and hues, telescopic vaults and sloping roofs at jaunty angles. Though located near a lake in the north- it exactly is not a very pleasant view at lower levels since there is also a large storm water drain flowing at the edge.
The brief required the home to have two living spaces – a small self-sufficient guest wing and the home for the family. The guest wing has a large bedroom with accessible toilet, a living room and a kitchenette there by making it age friendly. The family wing has three bedrooms, living, dining and kitchen .Binding the two wings together is a large internal courtyard with a palm tree which has been retained.
All the common areas of both the wings open up into this courtyard which has been landscaped with indigenous plants, while bedrooms enjoy spectacular scenery of the lake against the setting sun. The main door opens into this courtyard which also becomes the semi open living room. The courtyard is divided into two with a connecting verandah. This verandah has a swing and large enough space to accommodate other free chairs. The verandah is placed above the underground rainwater tank.
In the main unit, the living dining area is roofed by three telescopic vaults. Bangalore’s sun is not very strong most of the year and it is best suited that light is taken from the above rather than from sides. The telescoping of vaults create a clerestory openings both on north and southern ends with southern clerestory being slightly shaded. This is achieved by making vaults of two sizes. Two smaller vaults which telescope into a larger concrete vault are made of hollow clay. The clerestory windows are fixed windows with calligraphy grills.
A small powder room is ensconced between the kitchen, bedroom and dining. This has a built-in granite wash basin and the tap is of granite operated by foot pedal. The master bedroom has the patterned windows on the west, and a window seat which allows for cooler breeze from the garden. This rooms ceiling is left unplastered with a motif borrowed from MC Escher. The attached toilet is a combination of black and white with a handmade granite washbasin.
Upper floor of the house is children’s den; it has an open gym with an extended terrace garden. The guest unit on the eastern side of the court has a gentle ramp right from the entrance to the main door ensuring barrier-free access throughout the ground floor of the house. Ample amount of openings and completely white interiors ensures that all spaces are brightly lit and well ventilated.
Since the office works with earth as the construction material it likes to experiment different ways of building with earth. For a commercial set up to experiment it needs patronage- Charis were our patron in this home design. So in this home for Charis Biome adopted rammed earth foundation, stabilized adobe walls and soil bio technology method for grey water treatment – all a first for the office.
The foundations were first layered with plastic collected from the surroundings and then earth excavated was rammed for the foundation up to the ground level. The stabilized adobes have been used for the guest wing. Here was a learning that stabilized adobes can be as structurally strong as CSEBs but are a method to be adopted where the dependence and skills required to use a machine can be avoided-thereby easing use of earth as a building material.