Tucked far away from the chaos of the city, the house is located at Kuruppampady, a scenic countryside, towards the east of Ernakulam district in Kerala. The rural fabric of the context have been instrumental in conceptualising the design, translating into a seamlessly blending mass.
The residence belongs to a vibrant family, who aspired a house that is home not only to them, but also to their friends and family. The requirements were hence not for the luxury of a nuclear family, but rather for a larger intimate user group including children and adults. Owning a family business in which both the partners are actively involved, called for the need for a dedicated formal zone, incorporating a lounge, office space and parking amenities. Mr. Reji envisioned an abode amidst the green, where the barrier between the built and the unbuilt is not rigid. The site was located accurately along the cardinal axes, with its eastern edge abutting the access road. The topography claimed a natural descending slope from south to north and the levels were utilised in segregating the formal and informal zones. When you enter from the north- east corner, the idea is to sequentially take you through a series of spatial paradoxes. Your experience of each space signifies how the volume has been played with, to demarcate personal and public spaces. The approach is characterised by a curved threshold from the east, leading to a long verandah, adapted from the “poomukham” concept of traditional Kerala architecture.
Traditionally, a poomukham is a semi open public space overlooking the front yard, wherein here, a physical boundary of vegetation assures privacy. The verandah extends to the northern perimeter of the house, connecting the formal entries. The shorter edge of the verandah however creates a visual spill out from the drawing room, also creating a line of sight towards the entry from within. The drawing room is a formal living space that had to be a part of the house, yet separated from its everyday chores. The split levels and the circular stair, designed in metal and wood, have been used as non apparent devices of partitioning zones.
Beyond the formal zone, the volume of the house doubles to reflect the sentiment of the family, ensuring an open and welcoming space. A visual connectivity is maintained from the core to the fringes of the house. The skylight and the large voids create a naturally lit interior, with framed views. The kitchen and utility zone occupies the east while the western periphery is solely dedicated for bedrooms. Thus the private spaces form a secluded cluster towards an end of the site, with an exclusive verandah or balcony for personal space. The large overhang towards the south cuts off the scorching sun, securing the transparent skin from transferring heat inside. The swimming pool, gym and play area are zoned towards the south of the ground floor and the east of the first floor. In the first floor, the passage acts as a floating bridge, visually accessible to the ground floor and physically connecting the 4 bedrooms, lift, home theatre and the recreational area upstairs. The recreational area is basically an adaptation of an attic space beneath the pitched roof. The home theatre opens to a terrace garden, which is a part of the front facade, adding greenery to the earthy colour palate. The architecture style resonates with the tropical modern architecture, with a simple L- shaped sloping roof apt for the monsoon climate, hosting the vast volume inside without making it obvious on the outside. The occasional curves in the plan as well as in certain elements like the organic stair, is inspired from the protruded curve of the site.
Keralites who have lived in rural villages carry a fond memory of evenings- climbing trees, plucking fruits or playing hide and seek in the thickly vegetated homesteads. The tropical landscape here is intended to be a memory, an anecdote to the notion of a home. The usability of this house post construction has been equally surprising and satisfying as all the spaces and amenities have been actively used, leaving no barren space. Although the 10000 sq ft house is sumptuous and aesthetically sound, its origin is always grounded to the strengths and flaws of the site and on the aspirations and insecurities of the client. The home is thus a reflection of its users’ collective personalities, ambitions and the unique topographical, climatic, sensory features of the site.