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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

True-to-form Architecture


By Pari Syal
Photography: courtesy the architect


Anand Dham with its stepped Mangalore-tiled roofing nestled amidst nature
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Characterized by a play of volumes, Anand Dham in South India is a contemporary-styled villa with integral traditional connects.

What do you do when you have a home in the midst of tranquil infinite nature, with a beautiful water-view, but in a climatic zone that is extremely hot and dry? Well, the simple answer according to Architect Bharathi Prem is “to build nature-driven and eco-friendly”.

Anand Dham with its stepped Mangalore-tiled roofing nestled amidst nature
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Anand Dham translated ‘Happy Dwelling’ is a traditionally built home on the banks of river Cauvery, in Karnataka, India. Surrounded by hills and forest, the villa-styled home is designed as an integral part of the landscape with its Mangalore-tiled sloping roof at various levels, creating drama and adding a distinctive character to the home. Further, the use of eco-friendly and thermally-efficient materials make for comfortable interior spaces, in complete contrast with the hot exteriors.

Deep-covered verandah acts as a transition space from the hot exteriors.
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The façade is clad with stone finished blocks, heavy door, with Sadarahalli granite on the side frames and sill.
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The home has a distinct feel of familiarity – rootedness in classic elements of design and décor. Right from the deeply covered verandah that acts as the transition space from the hot exteriors, to the heart of the home - the centrally placed inner courtyard around which are arranged the other living spaces, remind you of the homes of your ancestors, where the family gathered at the aagan or central courtyard for almost everything – from a chitchat to traditional family gatherings to mealtimes. With wooden pillars anointing the courtyard along with a load-bearing monolithic stone column, this heart of the home sports a double-height ceiling that immediately forges a connect between the public and private spaces on both levels of the sprawling home.

Central double-height court yard, flanked by wooden columns and one monolithic stone pillar
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Responding to the call of the climate, the building is constructed on eco-friendly principles: The foundation is of rubble stone masonry, and walls are of hollow load-bearing cement blocks, which act as thermal insulators.  The entire sloping roof is with filler slab, using clay Hourdi blocks and pots as fillers. The clay block in the roof cuts down the inside temperature.

The court is flanked by living room, dining hall, kitchen and three bedrooms, with the stairs at one end leading to the first floor
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The honesty of the materials in application and function along with the high volume and character sync of the home with its natural surroundings makes the home a truly timeless piece of architecture.

The design of spaces, high volume and choice of materials helps in achieving the thermal comfort inside.
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