Spread over an area of ​​approximately 800 square meters, this three-story residence is located in Panchkula, Chandigarh. The client brief called for an earthy, organic-looking house with a villa/mansion-like aesthetic, that would create contemporary, comfortable living, rooted in Indian tradition.

Studio Name: groupDCA
Design Team: Ar. Rahul Bansal, Ar. Amit Aurora, Manish Makhija
Area: 9735 sqft (built-up)
Year: 2016
Location: Panchkula, Chandigarh


Structural:  –  Pankaj Nanda (ME STRUCTURE), Panchkula
Landscape – Mr Somit Midha
HVAC:  – M/s AGILE Engineers, Chandigarh
Plumbing:-  DSR Engineers Services
Lighting: –  groupDCA
Façade –   groupDCA
Photography Credits: Andre J. Fanthome

Aggarwal's Residence by groupDCA - Sheet5
©Andre J. Fanthome

The layout of the house is so that the main public areas are on the ground floor with the elderly parents’ bedroom, master bedroom and study room. Bedrooms for the son and daughter are arranged on the first floor for easy access and privacy. The second floor is designed as an entertainment/relaxation area, away from the more private spaces of the house. It comes complete with all the entertainment facilities, a bar and a beautifully decorated front yard, all designed as a vibrant den.

The landscape is designed as an integral element of the house; Therefore, overall spatial planning is achieved by creating multiple small landscaped areas based on the views from each intimate spaces. Grass patches in front and back of the site create a green space. Instead of planning the entrance from the front lawn, it was designed at the end of the driveway, with a small landscaped area welcoming the entrance. The driveway only extends to a partial depth to accommodate parking needs, widening to become a landscaped green space from which one can enter. The boundary between the driveway and the landscape greenery is blurred and can be used together as one surface, in case of large gatherings. The overall exterior landscaping intent is clean and minimalist with straight lines, integrated with the architecture in smaller pockets using pergolas and other landscape elements.

Aggarwal's Residence by groupDCA - Sheet7
©Andre J. Fanthome

Materials play a huge role in defining the character of this modern yet sturdy home. The entire vocabulary of elevation design is integrated with contemporary use of locally available materials such as the Gwalior stone and clay bricks (made in Chandigarh, out of red terracotta bricks) and layouts. The geometry is simple but dynamic in form. The huge mass of the building has been broken down into smaller modules/fragments to create dynamism and move away from typical blocky approaches. The first block protrudes with lanterns on either side creating a distinctive identity.  French windows and large glass help break the monotony and let in plenty of natural light.

The interior color palette follows the same clean line approach, not quite contemporary or classic, where the richness of wood has been celebrated. An interesting element of the home is the subtle use of materials and textures that blend seamlessly with the overall color scheme, lighting and more. An attempt has been made to instill an Indian colour palette and Indian elements – the bricks, sandstone and teakwood used throughout the house are all of Indian origin. The furniture was planned and integrated throughout the design and planning stages, to ensure a cohesive approach.

Aggarwal's Residence by groupDCA - Sheet8
©Andre J. Fanthome

Passive energy-saving methods have been used to create an inherently green and energy-saving building without the overlap of artificial measures, while using insulated walls and ceilings in structure. This automatically lowers the temperature of the interiors. The underfloor cooling system has been optimized where the ventilation cooling system draws warm air from the house through an underground duct that removes heat by trapping moisture from the earth. This helps cool air to be distributed through vents like air conditioners, reducing energy costs even further.

A modest yet extremely practical abode that has been designed in a simple architectural style, not imposing, but combined with a concise brief to give it a sense of earthiness. The use of traditional construction technologies helps to recreate the connection with the earth. The reflection of traditional vernacular craftsmanship combined with the contemporary language of straight lines creates a neat and functional space.


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