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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Styling Lifestyles

By Savitha Hira
Photography: Rajesh Vora & Samira Rathod; courtesy SRDA

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.
An architect’s role goes way beyond building a structure and beautifying it; the inherent social responsibility is the cornerstone of his/her practice. Ar. Samira Rathod rises to the occasion.


Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

Modern lifestyles come with their own distinct dilemmas. Ar. Samira Rathod’s clients from Ahmedabad, a young couple, wanted their independence without compromising on the traditional family values.

Orchestrating a design solution that serves on several counts of privacy for the young couple, holistic blend of new and old – structurally and emotionally, and keeping her own design diktats in perspective, Samira has designed an extension of the old home in the backyard, nestled amidst nature and totally attuned to it. But what started off as a party space three years ago, has been gradually added on to, and is today, a cozy little home, waiting to blossom.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

Working around the maze of trees, the design of the new block essays three layers – functionally as well as perceptively: the inner layer is made of glass and encloses a manicured courtyard, designed as a natural progression of one from the old house. Responding to the existing box-like full-fledged home theatre that occupies pride of place in the backyard, the architect has simulated the intended vocabulary by cladding it with stone fins, giving it a very chic and intriguing appeal. This sets off the material tone, which then traverses from glass and stone to exposed and pigmented concrete, wood and bison board, terrazzo, steel, fabric, mirror and coloured acrylic.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

The material palette constitutes the aesthetic and structural vocabulary of the architecture. Layer 2 made of pigmented concrete forms the middle layer that defines the spatial layout and layer 3 – the outermost wall is made of exposed concrete. Furniture follows simple lines; no identifiable style, yet rooted in comfort and eclectism; some of the pieces designed by SRDA. Overall, the home generates an interesting meandering of spaces, can comfortably cordon off the glass fa├žade with curtains for privacy vs. creating a seamless environment with the old home; is fitted out with wonderful landscaping that adds to its natural appeal and sports an element of surprise that offers plenty of fodder for the much-talked-about aftermath of the experience.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

Residence by Samira Rathod, Ahmedabad
.

While this assigns the larger picture, concerns that are purposefully driven are the positioning of windows at a lower level in the bedrooms – to provide a new perspective to the view outside; quirky elements of fun like the cycle wheel in the passageway or the balls sunk into the bathroom cabinet to camouflage the drawer opening; or even the rotund swivel at the bar that can conveniently pass the glass across to the other section... these premeditated little touches remind one of the lighter side in life.  

It is rare to meet an architect, who can look within and pull up her socks on learnings from the project. While Samira does this with ease, letting us in on the not-so-apparent shortcomings of the project, we still come away applauding her attention to detail, spatial composition, play of light, chiaroscuro elements and overall aesthetic that stand testimony to her maturity and comprehension of building-to-lifestyle equation.


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