COURTYARD HOUSE Ahmednagar Tao Architecture
Airy, scenic, spacious and landscaped; seemed like unimaginable attributes for a residence on a tight, gloomy, 3400 sq.ft. plot in the dense residential locales of Ahmednagar.
To counter opposing site conditions, the living space was conceived as an inward facing structure enclosing a central landscaped courtyard. What resulted, was a light-filled, spacious, living, breathing abode with striking visual elements and contemplative open spaces.
The Courtyard House is planned with two parallel double-storey blocks on either side of an open-to-sky court; connected at the upper level, by a 10’ wide terrace ridge. The entire structure is united by a long sloping Mangalore tiled roof.
A rough Nevada stone clad loggia forms an inviting foyer for the home, its warli painted masonry and square openings giving a ‘wada’ like feel to space.
Inside the house, a cosy living room is illuminated by a large glazed wall overlooking a serenely landscaped court. Semi-private spaces like the dining room and kitchen flow into the family room, with services strategically concealed toward the back of the house.
The courtyard acts as the pivotal element, forming the connecting link between primary functional spaces; and essentially, between all family members, its attractive ambience encouraging outdoor living, and promoting a spiritual connection between the residents and their natural environment.
A central mango tree along with a seated Buddha sculpture lends the open space a sense of calm, transforming the semi-open verandah into a contemplative retreat, complete with a rustic wooden swing.
Towards the east, the greenery filters into the grandparents’ room, to fuse with a private semi-covered verandah; beyond which, a vehicular entry allows a car parking space.
A red stucco finished staircase forms a lightwell, illuminating the living spaces through a skylight, as it connects to the basement and the first floor.
The first-floor lobby houses a library and study, linking the guest and master bedroom on the west block with the terrace bridge leading to the east block.
The suspended connecting lobby overlooks the courtyard below, forming a breezy sit out for the first floor. Bedrooms are provided with bay windows and private sit outs; a hierarchy of private, semi-private and family open spaces ensuring varying degrees of privacy to all inhabitants.
Apart from tempering the microclimate of the living spaces through its greenery, the courtyard helps set up a passive ventilation system for the house, along with the stack ventilation shaft of the staircase, and turbo vents on the roof. Skylights and windows allow natural daylighting while photovoltaic panels help produce green energy. Combined with LED lights and natural materials, such strategies ensure a minimal carbon footprint for the building. Terracotta pots on the roof provide natural thermal insulation.
All in all, the courtyard house, with its tranquil beauty and traditional appeal, emphasizes the importance of time-tested vernacular techniques and a sensitive approach toward the environment as effective design solutions for today’s architectural problems.
PROJECT FACTS :
Project:‘The Courtyard House’ at Ahmednagar
Plot Area: 3400 Sq. Ft
Built-up Area: 2800 Sq. Ft.
Photographs: Hemant Patil