Architects: Vir.Mueller architects
Location: Defence Colony Residence, New Delhi, India
Design Team: Christine Mueller, Pankaj Vir Gupta, Sarah Gill, Harsh Vardhan Jain, Saurabh Jain, Kai Pedersen, Hillary Collins, Helena Westerlind, Everett Hollander
Client: Saran and Puneet Dhupia
Total Covered Area: 11,000 sq.ft.
Structural Engineer: Himanshu Parikh
Contractor: Macro Constructions (Mr Subhash Chakravarty)
Photographs: Andre J. Fanthome
The Defence Colony residence/ Vir.Muller architects
In the city of New Delhi, the rising price of land compels owners of private property to build to the maximum permissible envelope of the site. The streetscape – balancing the scale between private residential buildings and public streets in the city – is rapidly diminishing. Residential areas are overrun by masonry boxes, devoid of interface between the public and private realm. This project aspires to actively create a dynamic, visually permeable street edge.
The Defence Colony residence derives its material and tectonic vocabulary from tombs and palaces – fragments of 15th century Islamic medieval architecture – that anchor the landscape of Delhi. Built with load-bearing masonry walls, and designed to withstand the exigencies of a Zone 4 seismic location, the residence creates its sense of architectural and urban identity by adhering to one primary material – moulded red brick.
The mass of the bricks is expressed both in the thickness of the walls, as well as in the surface articulation, keeping the house thermally temperate, and endowing it with a rich earthen hue. Simultaneously however, the brick transforms into a veil in the screens that shade the west facade of the building. All doors and windows, made from Teak timber sections, are hand fabricated from logs of on the site.
Polished marble floors reflect the light within, offering a luminous counterpoint to the masonry walls. The architecture engages in a play of kinetic energy, allowing glimpses of the street as well as the activities within. This is simply a hand-crafted, modern house, seeking to restore the relationship of inhabitants to their fundamental material context.