Editor’s Note: There are times when one encounters a built persona that can leave an unforgettable impression. The Prism House is one such powerful presence with its monolithic temperament. An experiential piece of design with sublime details, it rejoices with the raw and self-sufficient side of architecture. ~ Nishal Sevak
Today, many of the notable architectural projects, be they of residential or of public nature, focus on innovating structural systems and majorly styling façades or their appearance, probably driven by a strong urge to develop iconic landmarks within the urban fabric. This narrative often misses out on acknowledging the vast creative process hidden in the dialogue between the client and the architect. Prism House by Matra Architects is a refined excerpt of residential architecture.
Prism House by Matra Architects is a Refined Excerpt of Residential Architecture | Matra Architects & Rurban Planners
Visit: Matra Architects & Rurban Planners
“There will never be great architects or architecture without great patrons” – Sir Edwin Lutyens. Designing successfully bespoke residential architecture involves engaging with the clients, their values, stories, and idiosyncrasies. It may turn out to be an opportunity to explore unknown archetypes.
“I describe the design process as the tip of the iceberg. What you don’t see is the long haul: all the endless auditing and things like that” – Sir Norman Foster.
“Prism,” a residence built on two amalgamated plots, each of 668 sqm in the south part of Delhi, attempts to dwell on experiential qualities and spatial nuances of living in a “house.” Spaces within the six-bedroom house, mindful of ecology, climate, and Vaastu, defer to the requirements of three generations of the family.
The large double-height entertainment & guest block (gazebo), with building-related services located in the basement, has been planned thoughtfully along the north part of the central garden. It faces the central garden and the main house, equipped with formal-informal living areas on the ground floor and bedrooms on the first and second floors.
Terraces, a study, and a gym with personalized private courts on the mezzanine/attic floor create a complete and complex living experience.
The plot where the building, as per Vaastu’s directions, had to be located, is shaded during the winter months by the neighboring building. The key idea was to find a design strategy to harness the favorable southern sun from the roof. This was realized by not only providing skylights that generally are higher on maintenance on top of the roof but also by placing small and large courts directly under the roof cutouts.
These then feed light through all seasons into the adjacent spaces, i.e. the attic and the bedrooms in the lower floors. Thus, the section of the building became pivotal to the entire project and resulted in a distinct roof landscape. These sloping roofs reduce the perspectival height of the building, enhance the plasticity of the monolithic concrete blocks, and provide spectacular views of the roof landscape, the neighborhood, and the sky without compromising privacy.
The design ensures that the external experience of the imposing and rhythmic saddle roofs continues into the interiors of the main house, subtly organized around a well-lit double-height central vestibule with a sculptural staircase that serves as a dramatic and dynamic connection for the family’s activities.
“I don’t design nice buildings – I don’t like them. I like architecture’s raw, vital, earthy quality” – Zaha Hadid. The extensive use of light grey exposed concrete walls continued uncompromisingly with precast and insulated concrete sloping roofs, dare to set off against the exuberant interiors and the landscape, akin to the shell of a fruit that has to endure the test of time only to protect the main fruit.
Designed by: Matra Architects & Rurban Planners
Project Type: Residential Architecture Design
Project Name: The Prism House
Location: New Delhi
Year Built: 2021
Project Size: 12916 Sq.ft
Principal Architect: Verendra Wakhloo
Photograph Courtesy: Edmund Sumner, Ashish Sahi, Mayank Sharma, Sergio Ghetti & Matra
Firm’s Website Link: Matra Architects & Rurban Planners
Firm’s Instagram Link: Matra Architects & Rurban Planners
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