Editor’s Note: This residence by Studio AVT brims with cultural values and innovative design strategies. ‘Aaroh’ wraps myriad ideologies within it expressed through mediums that are sensorial, evoking a sense of oneness with the outdoors. The first impression itself is a memorable one with the MS Jaali carvings celebrating the intricacies of the era gone by. ~ Nishal Sevak(Co-Editor)
What happens when a client lets you paint his house on a blank canvas with no strings attached? ‘Magic’, and what follows when he happily lets you bring that to reality? ‘A Magical Story’.
“Aaroh” is home to a wonderful couple with two young sons & their charming grandmother, that tells a beautiful story of amazing experiences. It all started two years back, when the clients met us for the first time. They wanted us to design their dream, a home with a contemporary outlook where the indoors would seamlessly merge with the outdoors. Having a simple requirement of 6 bedrooms spread across 2 floors, they left the rest of the spaces for us to design & develop.
A Home With a Contemporary Outlook Where the Indoors Would Seamlessly Merge with the Outdoors | Studio AVT
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Yes, they wanted a house with a lot of landscaped gardens and terraces, where they could have multiple sit out areas placed in & around green areas, where every space is thoroughly ventilated & flushed with daylight, but for them security was such a concern that they were even willing to give up all their desires of having a lot of Indoor & outdoor connections for their apprehensions of it leading to a compromised security arrangement. Additionally, they also wanted us to follow the principles of vastu.
And thats how “Aaroh” which in Arabic means “the one having high qualities of a Mountain” was born. “Aaroh” stands tall and exhibits a yesteryear’s integrity as well as a charming modernity of current era with a sheer promise of timelessness.
“Aaroh” sits on two plots of 400 Sq. yards each, situated in a newly founded upscale neighbourhood which is located at the edge of Muzaffarnagar city, where a large number of influential families of Muzaffarnagar are shifting to, leaving the old city for its congestion & chaos. Muzaffarnagar is about 150 kms from Delhi, adjacent to the National Highway 58 and is between Delhi & Dehradun.
As we started the iterative process of developing the layouts, the concept revolved around designing and developing an inward looking house, that will have a world of Indoor & outdoor areas cocooned within the periphery while having a variety of thresholds on the outer edge to create a buffer to the exterior areas.
The given plot is North-West facing, so for separating the private areas & the common areas, the plot was divided via a vertical axis at the centre, and then a courtyard at the Brahmasthan was placed. This courtyard houses a water body with a fall & also hosts a planter in the centre that has a tall tree reaching the upper edges of the house which also acts as a visual bridge between both the floors.
To create a buffer between the common areas & private areas, the central courtyard was then extended till the front edge of the built block on one side, and on the other side, the main staircase was placed. This gave birth to two distinct zones, a North East zone having all the common areas and the South West Zone having all the private areas.
Here “Aaroh” also exhibits the fact that with careful & well thought of planning, the principles of architecture & the principles of Vastu go hand in hand and one can have the best of both worlds. This is done by providing maximum amount of green & open areas in the North East zone which are seamlessly merging with the Indoor areas & as its the common Zone, a true open plate planning was made possible.
On the other hand, heat gain in these areas were minimized as South West Zone was kept heavier with the placement of master bedroom & other bedrooms there. A double height family lounge in this zone helps to spatially add grandeur & a sense of spaciousness.
The courtyard at the Brahmasthan, has also been extended till the edge of plot in the North East Zone, and the primary walkway of the house goes through this extended courtyard while dividing it into two, the central courtyard & the mandir courtyard. As you walk through the main entrance, you enter a foyer with one wall opening up to a courtyard, which is reaching the front edge while running along the central axis.
The foyer then takes you to the drawing room on one side and a powder room on the other till one reaches the primary walkway, where you are greeted with beautiful open to sky courtyards on both the sides. The mandir courtyard on the North East side has a large Lord Shiva Idol, gracefully sitting on one end while looking inwards, exuberating in strength & confidence.
This courtyard is sandwiched between the drawing room and the dining room, while facing towards the central courtyard at the Brahmasthan. With sliding UPVC doors are on all three sides, merging the outdoors with the Indoors is made possible as & when needed. The dining room further opens up to a large courtyard at the rear end.
The built masses & the open courtyards in the North East Zone are placed alternatively starting from one end of the plot till the other end, which enhances the variety of spatial experiences that one encounters, while these spaces merge seamlessly & effortlessly into each other.
As one is about to cross the North East Zone and walk into the buffer leading to the South West Zone, adjacent to the dining room, sits the kitchen, kitchen utility & kitchen garden. The kitchen also enjoys the view of the courtyard at the Brahmsthan from an arm’s length away.
As one reaches the South West Zone, in the central area, is the double height family lounge placed adjacent to the central courtyard. The South West Zone has two large master bedrooms & a guest room placed around the family lounge. Both the master bedrooms enjoy large private courtyards, while the guest room has smaller, cosier private courtyard.
As one takes the staircase to reach the 1st floor, you reach the central walkway, which envelops and runs along the periphery of the the open to sky central courtyard & the double height lobby area below. flushed with day light, the first floor is a delight to be at. The South Western Zone here has three good sized bedrooms similarly positioned and placed as on ground floor level.
Two of them have good sized private terraces attached to them. The North East Zone has been kept lighter here as well on the first floor with a large terrace in the front that sits on top of the foyer area and runs above the Verandah as well on the ground floor. The area above the dining room has also been kept as an open terrace garden, and there is a multi purpose room placed above the drawing room. Above the kitchen at the ground floor, are a couple of store rooms & a small lounge.
The two large terraces in the front are visually & spatially connected via a series of concrete pergolas to enhance the sense of interaction & connectivity between them and as you look outwards from these terraces, you are greeted with a large neem tree in the front that helps in maintaining privacy while giving a relaxing view. The mandir courtyard and the rear dining courtyard are also covered with MS pergolas that gives birth a lovely play of light & shadows below, throughout the day and in turn also act as a security feature.
The facade of “Aaroh” is an extension of its corresponding Internal spaces, where the soul of its internal areas transcends to its outer fabric in a seamless fashion. A good part of the facade which is projected from the North Eastern Zone has mostly glazing, which is further accentuated by creating a laser-cut MS Jali screen as an external skin. The initial purpose of the Jali was to cater to the security concerns of the client, but through an “out of the box” approach, we were able to create a story board running across the two floors, the story that celebrates life by taking inspirations of a bygone era which was rich in culture & social interactions.
The screen further evolved as a visual delight from the Indoors as well as the outdoors while interacting with the passerby in a cheerful & joyful manner. The block projected from the South Western Zone, has been mostly kept solid with a just few fenestrations, this creates a contrast between the two blocks in the facade, accentuating solidity in one & permeability in the other. These two blocks are then connected via an inviting volume draped in HPL, that highlights the magnitude of the width & empowers the true perspective of the house while framing & crowning the facade in style.
“Aaroh” is a world of its own, full of interactive spaces which are intertwined together seamlessly between the outdoors & the Indoors, having a happy soul that breathes joy by bringing the family closer to each other through multiple sit-outs, beautiful nooks & corners, greens & courtyards etc.
Designed by: Studio AVT
Project Type: Residential Architecture Design
Project Name: Aaroh
Location: Muzaffarnagar, UP, India
Year Built: 2021
Built-up Area: 6000 Sq.ft
Principal Architects: Ankita Sweety & Pratyoosh Chandan
Photograph Courtesy: Studio Recall & Sohaib Ilyas
Firm’s Website Link: Studio AVT
Firm’s Instagram Link: Studio AVT
Firm’s Facebook Link: Studio AVT
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