When designing for his own parents, the architect is faced with a unique set of challenges. In this case, the parents owned a modest house in their native town north of Bangalore. After relocating to Bangalore, they contemplated renovating the home to earn a retirement income by creating additional rentable units above the existing single-storey house. One of the first challenges for the architect was to expand his parent’s vision for the scope of the renovation.
Project Name: The Radical Makeover House
Architecture Firm: Sudaiva Studio
Firm Location: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Completion Year: 2019
Gross Built Area: 3300 Square Feet
Project location: Turuvekere, Karnataka, India
Lead Architects: Vinay Mavinakere
Creative Partner: Geeth Gopinath
Photo credits: Geeth Gopinath
Design Team: Vinay Mavinakere, Geeth Gopinath, Aditi Hoti
Clients: GS Susheelamma & MC Devaraje Gowda
Engineering: Shekar, Suhas, Darshan
Landscape: Vinay Mavinakere, Geeth Gopinath
Interior Design: Vinay Mavinakere, Geeth Gopinath
Consultants: Design Wheel Consultants
While the parents were looking at a modest return on a small investment by adding two simple two-bedroom units, the son’s vision was much grander. The proposal was to create four additional units and designed in a way to attract a total rent that was almost thrice what the parents imagined was possible. This sounded foolhardy to the parents and the proposal was met with disbelief.
After the parents were convinced with several rounds of discussions, the second challenge was structural. The residence was completed in 2000 and was a load-bearing structure. Retaining most of the existing structure, the garage was removed to add a new staircase to connect to the upper floors. Additional columns and beams were added, making the renovated unit a hybrid of a load-bearing and a framed structure.
During a site visit after the second-floor slab was cast, the architect was presented with a astonishing view of the canopy of rain trees in front of the house. This inspired a further addition to the program – a compact studio to be used by the family when visiting their hometown. A 500 square foot open plan studio was planned with generous fenestrations to the view of the trees in front of the property.
The third challenge presented itself while discussing the external façade. Going by what they were familiar with, the parents imagined a metal grill lattice covering the entire front facade of the building. Doing this would make the building look unoriginal and visually unappealing. To satisfy the need for safety while also creating a visual statement, the front façade was conceived as panels of perforated clay blocks (jaali screen) framed by aluminium sections.
Terracotta blocks connect the building with its existing context of mostly clay-tiled pitched roof houses while the metal accents give it a distinctly contemporary appearance. On seeing the completed building and the enormous interest it generated in the neighbourhood, the parents did not hesitate to quote the scaled-up rents that were initially planned. The ultimate vindication for the leap of faith they took in their son’s vision came when all the units were occupied within a few days of being on the market.