“L” House | The Grid Architects
Design should be a link between the present and future generations.
There is a purpose to every dot that is extended to a line. Reflecting on spaces and volumes created, and bringing about a harmony in the sequence of thoughts, leads to free-flowing spaces unhindered by (purposeless) walls. The design concept and the ensuing journey embraces the subtle rhythms and work of passion. The symmetry of the house is felt in the boxes extruding from the exterior and the voids in the interior.
The designing of a home is apparently designing a lifestyle. It is not only bringing together of soil, climate, material but also centres around the lifestyle of the people who will habitat that dwelling. For each design and client, there is a unique combination of influences – people, places, events, memories and perception (absorb and observe).
The planning and interior design of this project were completely entrusted to the architects, as the clients had tremendous faith in the architects’ understanding of their needs. While the architects tried to fulfill all their requirements, what ignited their minds was staying true to the site/earth/atmospheric settings.
The architecture itself was shaped by two factors: site forces and a succinct one-line requirement stated by the client. The plot is at a cul de sac, sited in a densely-populated residential area; a flat piece of land dotted with a number of trees. The retention of three huge local trees with widespread branches became a design driver. The second consideration that influenced the architectural response was the client’s request for the kitchen to be centrally located such that it would be in a line of sight of the main door, and the dining and living rooms… basically, It had to feel connected to the events unfolding in the rest of the house. The low-rise dwellings around the site and the bylaws of the city were other influencing factors.
Working around the local trees gave rise to the name and shape of the L HOUSE. Succeedingly, the architects achieved a straight car park and could propose and achieve an organic shape with fluid movements and intersecting volume of shape as a result of a square and rectangular boxes based on a grid. The design is directed towards simple, stark clean and uncluttered interiors and volume of spaces. There is a fluidity of spaces with a certain dependence between them, helped the semi-private and private spaces to be interactive, triggering diverse sensations and moods to encourage communication.
It all starts with a refreshing landscape, featuring carefully-curated, climate-correct plantation. The entrance verandah is surrounded by the waterbody and meticulously planned landscape, complete with patio furniture. Customized lights that wash the exterior stone-clad walls create a serene atmosphere. Across the pure thick teak wood main door, and in the courtyard – which is the highlight of the house–a specially fashioned abstract 3D mural of birds in flight to infinity on an exposed RCC wall, reflects the joie de vivre exuded by the sculpture of a little boy delicately balanced on a ledge. The calm features of a Buddha, seated among refreshing greens, soothes you. The customized lights, angularly designed and dropping down from the ceiling, break the verticality of this volume.
To the right of this double-height volume lies the living room connected to the surrounding landscape through the double-height glazing overlooking the garden. Dressed in cool blues (in response to the harsh south-west sunlight) and wood, it features an installation of uniquely designed lamps made up of essentially wood and latticed with cane work, hung from the double height of the living room in a cluster of three distinctively integrated formations to throw light softly. The natural light filtering through the huge windows unhindered by any grills, looking out onto the garden gives you a sense of being transported to another world. The double height glazing has been camouflaged by wooden louvers on the exterior side to break the harsh sunlight from the south-west. These louvers are an integral part of the elevation too, and thus become a wooden curtain with dual function – inside and outside.
The colour theme and proportion of the spaces and furniture is in unison to the integrity of the central thought: straight lines, and following a grid. The dining area is part of the kitchen as per client requirement and spills over onto the back-deck area. The extended area is actually a setback in the plot as per the bylaws, which was creatively woven into the design programme. It offers another spot for quiet contemplation.
The corridor that takes you to the bedroom on the ground floor is more like a walk down the garden highlighted by huge glass accentuated windows and the coming in of the natural sunlight. A painting of the first watercolour sketch of the concept of the design of the villa, mounted on a ribbed sky-blue wall in the master bedroom, functions as a visual anchor from the corridor itself.
The staircase that leads to the upper level affords views into the living room, dining area and the main entrance as it is wrapped around the central courtyard. Thus, it acts as a bridge around the house, a centrifugal force. The wall of the passage that leads to the lounge and home theatre showcases customised artwork based on the theme of a leaf. Both the bedrooms enjoy satiating views of the surrounding garden. The larger bedroom sprawls out onto the terrace garden, bedecked with large customised planters made in concrete. Designed as a visual barrier (as the terrace was directly connected to the road), a high parapet wall made up of wooden louvers gives the terrace an air of delightful seclusion.
There was considerable thought paid to being as gentle on the environment as possible. The process stressed on everything local, where man and material were concerned. Most of the trees were retained on site. All the corridors receive ample sunlight and give rise to a feeling of calmness and serenity. The warm natural light moves around the house bringing about a vitality. The rooms feel alive with the correct balance of colours and natural and customized lighting thoughtfully planned to be used at the correct time. Essentially all the rooms receive sunlight and natural breeze almost throughout the day resulting in optimal ventilation yielding in a comfortable internal environment. Hot air from the southwest is restrained by the surrounding landscape. Both exterior and interiors use lead-free, environment-friendly, nontoxic, water-based paints.
The centre table was designed in a combination of two materials: recycled wood and metal. There were voids which were designed to keep the remotes, mobile phones and a longer void which acted as a tray for magazine/newspaper. The support of the table was not hidden under the frame but was purposefully made visible and integrated as part of a design.
The staircase was designed in recycled wood in combination with RCC. The staircase was the centrifugal force of the space, and responds to the needs as different shapes of the wood and the RCC wall act as a railing…..
The angular lamps designed for the central courtyard, ceiling hung.
Huge wooden lamps latticed with the cane were designed for the living room which was ceiling hung in a cluster of three.
The kitchen shutters were cladded with 3-mm-thick tiles instead of veneer/laminate.
Innovatively designed concrete plant pots for the terrace garden.
The exposed RCC wall impressively complemented with the specially fashioned 3D mural of the abstract birds, in flight to infinity
Name: L HOUSE (villa, single dwelling)
Architect Firm: The Grid Architects
Primary function: Residential private home
Plot area: 722.56 sqm
Total built-up area: 394 sqm (ground floor plus one )
Project year: 2017