Text description provided by the architects. The site for the deck house is situated in the plains adjacent to the Tirumala hills in Tirupati. The hills, part of the Seshachalam range spreads from east of the site towards southwest. The site itself is located in a residential layout off the main road lined with sporadic development. The client wanted to combine the house with a social space and an office for his business needs. The 15000 sft plot also was to accommodate a multipurpose play-court, a ‘Zen’ garden and flowing water keeping in tune with the client’s lifestyle.
Owing to the harsh sun and heat of Tirupati, the house sits on a compact footprint allowing for landscape and garden to encompass the house. The logic of the house lies in the creation of two distinct blocks bridged by a large dining space and united by a hovering roof. The two blocks operate as distinct zones, one housing the bedrooms and bathrooms and the other holding the public areas, kitchen and servants space of the house. Subtle changes in the floor planes articulate variations in volumes and provides for difference between the various programmatic spaces. The spatial strategy of two distinct blocks with a landscape articulated in between space allows for seamless communication between the various programmatic spaces of the house. This strategy alludes to the traditional courtyard houses found in southern parts of India and provides for a cohesive connect crucial for a home.
Another definitive level of operation that informs the visual and performative aspect of the house is the way the ‘perimeter’ of the container is dealt with. On the west, bedrooms and toilets are layered by a wooden louvers system that provides relief and contact with the exterior world. On the north and east towards the front, the large deck and its roof operates as a welcoming and unifying element for the house. The lookout on the north towards the hills adds to the drama and provides specificity to the building and its elements. The ominous presence of the hills is felt from this deck. This cantilevered space connects the family space and office lounge to the outside and acts as a hosting place for business meets of the client. A spiral staircase in the front of the house before the main door states the ambiguity and premise of the house. The entrance to the house itself is a ‘non place’, a pause mediating the inside and outside.
Material articulation reinforces the differential conditions of the various programmatic spaces. The lower levels are clad with limestone giving the appearance of a container rooted to its surroundings. In contrast, the concrete volume hovers over this clad container and articulates a condition where the two distinct blocks meets the outside world. Wood screen clad on the home theatre volume from the outside in the first floor expresses a volume perched between the two blocks. The concrete plane provides a datum and gives an opportunity for occupation and cover against the harsh sun and glare of the place. A system of rib beams at close intervals hold the cantilevered volume and provides for the necessary thermal protection on the overhead plane.
Gardens and landscape elements are envisioned as extensions of living spaces. The water body, lawn, Zen garden and the play-court is placed in a striated manner distinct from one another from east to west. Only the water body flows from the west to east and has overlaps with different zones. A Buddha statue made by local arts school students sits serenely on a levitated platform. Rocks for the Zen garden was bought from scattered pieces found around the site. And like the rock, the garden and rest of the house with its materials and apertures are thought of as artifacts where nature and time will mark their story upon.