The Tapered House: An Individualistic Illustration of Rustic Architecture | Studio Mohenjodaro

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“If we learn to build with local materials, we have a future.”- Francis Kere

If we were to ever learn a refined definition of rustic architecture in general and rustic homes in detail, The Tapered House emerges as an individualistic case study. The depiction of two major contrasting yet strongly interlinked characters of this residence become the protagonists rendering different stories to visitors, neighbors, and the residents. With its exterior appearance, construction is sought in harmony with the natural surroundings which speaks of its labor-intensive construction techniques and conscious avoidance of certain classicist attributes. Interestingly the interiors of this home exhibit a comprehensively warm and unpretentious environment, enabling a sense of closure with elements like bricks, tapering concrete roof, wooden battens, motif flooring, and soft furnishings. This transition of perception of “rustic” has evolved over the course from something that was unfinished and needed to be concealed into something virtuous that’s nostalgically comforting. ~Yamini Vaswani (Editor)

The Tapered House: An Individualistic Illustration of Rustic Architecture | Studio Mohenjodaro

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One of the most challenging aspects is the architectural controls and constraints that one needs to abide by while designing in Chandigarh. The city has very stringent rules which act as a template for everyone to follow.

From the exposed brick façade to the butterfly roof, the house has an aura of timelessness. The house, recessed from the streetscape and its adjacent buildings, does not instantly come into sight. It takes its time to gradually invite and hold the passer-by. The recess is also an important element in the design to provide privacy and a sense of cocooned comfort to the residents.

I believe the most satisfying aspect was resolving the design of the wood battens on the façade. On the outside, the delicate wooden battens are affixed to the soffit, giving an illusion of holding the hulking roof slabs in place. These unassumingly simple, equally spaced battens are sacrosanct in principle to stitching the overall elevation together. The entire glazing design, from the placement of mullions to the size of doors and windows, is aligned with these battens overhead, thereby determining the size of openings in walls. We must’ve spent days trying to resolve such minute details, which got frustrating at times but eventually it was the most gratifying process when piece by piece all of it fell in place. 

As one approaches the main entrance, the stark contrast between the muted exteriors and vivid interiors becomes apparent. A double door painted in a vibrant shade of pastel green gives a glimpse of what unravels beyond. The green hanging bell on the right side is from Fabindia.

We were working with an unconventional design palette with the concept of rustic architecture that was extremely labor intensive as the local construction teams weren’t used to working in exposed brickwork or in-situ flooring anymore. To top it all we had to finish the construction in a stipulated time frame in the midst of Covid restrictions following all guidelines and protocols.

The beautiful wall plates were sourced by Mrs. Sanjivini Gupta (Homeowner) from “The Vanity Box” and the custom-designed chair with the u-shaped legs was fabricated by Mr. Mobin Ahmed Ansari of Woodmakers India.

Old furniture was refurbished and reupholstered in a distressed finish with colorful fabric offsetting the neutral tones of the ceiling and the walls. The sloping roof adds to the dynamism in the volume of the space. The standing lamp is sourced from “The Vanity Box”.

The Dining Room with windows on all sides has scenic views of the front lawn, which makes for a calming place to enjoy a warm meal with the family. The Dining Table is a customized wood and epoxy resin table with interlocking V-shaped legs. Furniture fabricated by Mr. Mobin Ahmed Ansari of Woodmakers India.

The sense of openness escalates as one steps out onto the large terrace with its beautiful plants, ornate railings, and modest flooring, ideal for enjoying a cozy cup of tea with the setting sun in the evening. This residence that screams of soft rustic architecture dramatizes the materials beyond its currently perceived abilities.

Visual continuity is maintained, not just horizontally but vertically as well, with louvered windows from the living area above, overlooking the central courtyard below. This perceivable dialogue between both floors ties the different spaces holistically. 

Fact File

Designed by: Studio Mohenjodaro

Project Type: Residence Architecture & Design

Project Name: The Tapered House

Location: Chandigarh

Year Built: 2021

Duration of project: 15 Months

Plot Area: 4500 Sq.ft

Built up: 2250 Sq.ft

Project Size: 5000 Sq.ft

Project Cost Appx: 1.25 Crore

Principal Architect: Tarunpreet Singh Bhatia

Team Design Credits: Eshita Verma, Ashima Gupta & Sukriti Gandhi

Photograph Courtesy: Purnesh Dev Photography

Consultants for the Project

Structure Engineers: Structure Solutions

Contractors: Woodmakers India

Products & Materials: Sanitary ware: Jaquar | Furniture: Woodmakers India | Flooring: Indian Marble, Sandstone, Jaisalmer, and Kota

Firm’s Website Link: Studio Mohenjodaro

Firm’s Instagram Link: Studio Mohenjodaro

Firm’s Facebook Link: Studio Mohenjodaro

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