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Friday, August 10, 2012

High on Style


By Pari Syal
Photography: Humayun Khan; courtesy Archohm


Design challenges come in various avatars. Often, what seems like a carte blanche and a resolute trust on part of the client can be an immense dare for the architect.

Archohm, the design studio from Noida, India, were given an extremely challenging design brief to work around the basic functionalities and requirements of a client in Agra with absolutely no constraints on time, energy, money and exposure. Rising to the tall order, where deliverance weighed heavily on integrity, team Archohm decided to focus on innovation and a fresh design approach.

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Breaking away from the conventional design typology of front gardens and glass, they began with a façade that is designed to establish a blank, bold and clean statement, optimally exploited as a tool to express style.

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Next, working on a dramatic interplay of elements, they created a narrative where the entry is defined by ramping up and along the blank façade to a sixteen foot high door, then through a top-lit long and narrow passage, into the double height entrance foyer with a floating glass bridge; the spaces are then defined into public and private, built around an introverted thematic.

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Conceived as a complex composition of inward-looking interconnected spaces that flow into each other, a play of views is developed through strategically positioned fenestrations highlighted by north lights, top lights and structural glazing. Family, living and dining spaces open into a central courtyard bounded by formal entertainment spaces on one side and private sleeping zone on the other.

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Making optimum utilization of space and resources, the home is tiered for optimum functionality (from basement upwards) without compromising on the heightened aesthetics whilst strictly maintaining privacy.

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With an outer blank shell of wood and inner perforated skin of white and glass complementing each other, the home unfolds as a conscious progression in design that highlights natural light, ventilation, spatial configurations (some very spacious expanses are juxtaposed with long narrow lengths) as well as materials and colours in a defined, style-emphasized format.

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4 comments:

  1. Maybe this is the owners way to turn down the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Would like to see the context of the neighborhood. Nothing wrong about closing off the outside world to your own retreat. Inside is grand, nice spaces and for them to escape. Obviously goes against some of Robert Venturi's design principles for home design! Very well done.

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  2. Good concept and design.

    From my personal experience I've found exposed slatted timber facades a very high maintenance element. As architects it's advisable to make the client aware of the challenges of keeping this material in good shape before implementing it in design and construction documentation.

    Timber sealer manufacturers often vouch for their products, however their performance is seldom on par with their sales talk.

    In response to IAnD's discussion thread:Does the building facade impact one’s perception about the house owners? How?

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  3. In my view, we all judge books by their covers. It makes no difference if that cover is paperback or a building facade. I would suggest that we do have understandable languages of architecture. As with verbal languages, there are multiple languages spoken, and no one speaks all of those languages. However, the languages of architecture are more akin to body language than spoken or written words. We all read and react to environmental body language, but it happens at a subconscious level. We know it when we see it, but we struggle to verbalize it.

    What we do not have is a very good written dictionary to translate the various messages communicated by the built environment into a common meaning that works across cultures. Although we have many solid philosophical attempts to look at pattern language and some provocative scientific analyses of human perception, they all seem to fall short of defining that non-verbal communication that we experience with place.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread:Does the building facade impact one’s perception about the house owners? How?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the Architecture of Happiness can shed some light on this!

      http://alaindebotton.com/architecture/extract/

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