- Design Team: Arun A, Ashfaq Malik, Vandana Raghuram
- Clients: Dr. Sreejith, Mrs. Shubha
- City: Palakkad
- Country: India
Text description provided by the architects. Calmness in the chaos of daily life. This was the prime requirement provided by the clients for their homes. Caper residence is built around an area of 5226 sqft of a plot, with a street connection on the Northside, a neighboring house on the Eastside, and vast paddy fields on the sides. The dwelling has exposed concrete and natural brick as the main finishes. The house fosters the idea of a sustainable design by responding to the climate and context using courtyard, air movement, and natural light. The 1400 sqft comprises two blocks- the private zone on the north-south axis and the semi-private zone inclined at an angle of 10 degrees. The spatial organization comprises of two levels with living rooms and a dining area, four bedrooms, and a double-height open courtyard.
Sustainable Design - Zoning: The residence was zoned in response to the wind direction, sun path, road access, and views of the neighboring paddy fields. The access road, car porch, and entrance to the house are from the south. The bedrooms are situated in the east to catch the breathtaking views of the sunrise in the paddy fields. The puja room is placed in the north as per Vaastu Shastra. Natural Ventilation: Natural ventilation was a core concept while designing the residence. The central axis containing the formal and family living areas and courtyards is the core for natural ventilation inside the house. The breezes are also welcomed in the open kitchen and dining. All bedrooms have cross ventilation for occupant comfort. Through various climate-responsive measures adapted to the site and building, there is a decrease of 4 degrees Celsius in the interior of the house in comparison to the exterior.
Light and Shade: Ample daylighting has been successfully achieved in the residence through the use of brick jali walls, large window openings, balconies, and skylights; thereby decreasing the need for artificial lighting. The triangular openings between the potted filler slab ceiling create striking patterns of light and shadow on the floor. Eco-friendly fixtures like LEDs have been used throughout the house. The number of lighting fixtures has been kept to a minimum. Materials: The residence is held with an RCC frame, and the masonry is done in red fire bricks. The bricks are exposed in some spaces and used for the jali walls in the living area and courtyard. The masonry is finished with POP plaster on the interior and cement plaster on the exterior. POP was chosen as it decreases the amount of paint required. UPVC windows have been used.
Rainwater Harvesting: Open terrace acts as a catchment area for rainwater. Rainwater thus harvested is filtered and stored in a 7000L UG sump located near the kitchen; it is used for gardening and car washing. Permeable Ground Cover: Front yard of the residence is paved with green pavers that let the rainwater to the ground cover and recharge the area’s groundwater level. Lawns are maintained in the side and back yards of the site.
Exterior - The vehicular footprint on the site has been kept to a minimum. The car porch and entrance porch are designed in a minimalistic style with slender metal columns and concrete slabs. Shades of grey, red, and white have been used to bring out a simple façade. Native plants have been used on the site to reduce the need for irrigation. There were no existing trees within the site. New trees have been planted for shading.
Interior - The entrance porch leads to the double-height formal living through which one can reach the central circulation zone connecting to the bedroom zone, courtyard, and dining and kitchen zone. Shades of grey, white, and red have been achieved throughout the residence as its color scheme. The exposed double height ceiling of the formal living and dining area has a portion of filler slab in between the concrete slab which is finished in earthen pots and triangular cut-outs. Double-height brick jali walls in the front façade and courtyard wall ensure a good amount of daylight and breezes inside the house. Bricks projecting randomly from the courtyard wall creates a visually pleasing pattern. Two bedrooms with attached bathrooms are tucked away together ensuring privacy. All the spaces have exposed concrete ceilings which give a rustic finish to the residence. The open kitchen has a connection with the dining area. A small work area provides access to the kitchen yard outside. The puja room is situated in a private courtyard near the dining.
The staircase in this area leads directly to the family living above, from where one can access the upper bedrooms and mandapa hall. The first two flights of the staircase have wooden boards supported on a metal box section and the third flight is finished in concrete. The staircase has thin GI pipes as handrails, keeping a minimal finish. Both the upper bedrooms have attached balconies for elevated views toward the paddy fields. There is a combination of minimal wooden and wicker furniture present in the residence to match the color scheme.