Text description provided by the architects. On the southern periphery of the site stood a magnificent and ancient Raintree that influenced the spatial layout of this 4-bedroom house in Chennai. The tree, with its sculptural roots and the giant canopy, was a primary driver in determining the layout and design of the house. We wanted the tree to be omnipresent, so we created the entrance court around its roots and positioned the living room in such a way as to have direct views of it. The main compound wall on the street was designed with certain cutouts to accommodate some of its branches and roots.
The L-shaped plan of the house has a strong North-South axis with the living area assuming a central pavilion-like location with views of nature on both sides. The south opening of the living area frames the giant Raintree while its north opens completely to a linear Koi Pond and garden. A series of 4 sliding doors gather at one end revealing the Koi Pond and garden and dissolving the threshold between interior living space and the outdoors. The strategic orientation also promotes cross-ventilation and breezes from south to north, keeping the living area cool in the intense Chennai summers.
The flow of public spaces on the ground floor includes living, dining, family, kitchen, study, and a guest bedroom. The family room spills out into an ample verandah that flanks the koi pond and north garden. The upper level of the house has the master bedroom, an open family area as well as two children’s rooms, each with views of either the tree canopy in the south or the garden in the north. The materiality of the house has large expanses of polished grey kota stone as the flooring is offset with walnut wood in certain bedrooms. Accent cast concrete walls in the master bedroom and stairwell wall complement the material language.
We wanted to lift the interiors with certain colors that would contrast well with the muted grey shell. We thus used Garnet and Ochre liberally in the soft furnishings and accessories. Most of the sourced carpets are handwoven in Saree silk, paintings are in Oil and acrylic by contemporary Indian Artists Rathin Burman, G.R. Iranna, C Douglas, Mahmud Husain, etc., and some antiques are sourced from old town Kochi. The decorative lighting act as the focal point in the house and is sourced from European brands LZF, Marketset, and Louis Poulsen. The furniture was largely customized by Khosla Associates.