How to create vast spaces, cosy interiors, and green expanses. By Nandhini Sundar
The dimensions were certainly challenging, leave alone being unique. When Smaran Mallesh and his team at Cadence Architects were shown a site measuring 68 x 19 x 107 x 73 x 4 ft. in south Bengaluru and asked to build a four-bedroom residence that was to spread over 7,800 sq. ft, they realised that the design intervention would need to be unique. Not only were the site dimensions peculiar, its location too was equally so, situated in the corner of a busy junction amidst a dense urban neighbourhood.
With vehicular roads flanking two of its three sides, the design team faced the challenge of coming up with a structure that shielded the interiors from the external chaos yet retained the external connect without losing the tranquillity of a segregated dwelling. Given the large interior space request, it meant that the building’s footprint would encompass the entire site; and a steep vertical expanse of the structure was inevitable.
The structure that finally came about was one that literally lifted off the street, a flame red corten steel sheeting wrapping the exteriors defensively. The three-storey structure placed on an open stilt car park at ground level further comes with a concrete parasol on the terrace where the sharp angled slab dramatically points upwards akin to the nose of a ship.
It was crucial to ensure the façade did not appear as a massive vertical expanse. The design team worked on the elevation to successfully address this, punctuating the façade with concrete bands to go with the sheeting.
“Exposed concrete bands punctuate the façade on the surface and the corners to cut this vertical expanse. The raw textures of the concrete bands contrast aesthetically with the flame red perforated corten steel sheeting that wraps the exterior structure. The sheeting is delicately framed within the concrete bands to form a protective veil-like fabric”, explains Mallesh. The sharp angled parasol, besides bringing a dramatic dimension to the façade, also alters this visual vertical expanse.
The blend of the rustic with warm earthy colours on the façade is replicated in the contemporary themed interiors. The spaces display a rich combination of warm wood and concrete planes. The earthy flavour is accentuated by the neutral palette of the walls, the greens in the courtyard blending in to create an energetic composition. Streaks of sunlight streaming in through the perforated steel sheeting usher in another dimension to the minimalist interior.
The interiors feature as a division of two distinctive activity zones, the feature resonating across all three levels of the building. An expansive double height living area prevails on the first level. An open kitchen with dining area ties into this living space, where a sunlit green open deck prevailing on the eastern side brings ample natural light and ventilation into the interiors. An open horizontal bridge features on the second level, connecting visually to the living space below.
The western side accommodates a bedroom along with the pooja area with the lift and staircase at the core. A small sky-lit green courtyard encloses the staircase that goes up three levels. “The courtyard has been left open for the household to use based on functional requirements”, adds Mallesh. Similar division of spaces is evidenced on the second level, the master bedroom and the third bedroom featuring on either side of the core of the residence and converging on to the pedestrian bridge. Attractive nooks flank the windows to offer a connect to the exteriors as well as serve as relaxation or reading zones.
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