By Marina Correa
Photography: Harneet Singh; courtesy Anagram Architects
Curvilinear in form, fronted with hand-made flattened wooden louvres interspersed with vertically grown vegetation, this 4-storey Outré House stands tall against the ‘cookie-cutter’ boxy buildings surround, located in New Delhi...
Attempting to go in search of the unusual in contemporary urban architecture, Vaibhav Dimri and Madhav Raman, co-principals, Anagram Architects, eschewed machinery in favour of hand- crafted and natural material palette.
From bespoke concrete formwork and poured flooring to curved joinery and rhythmically notched masonry, the design releases its handmade construction from the shackles of straight line rectilinearity; thus allowing crafted details to overlay each other rather than be restricted merely at points of material intersection.
The natural palette of exposed brickwork, concrete, wood etc. melds with the warm earthy tones of browns, greens and vermillion red in the interiors.
However, the curvaceous silhouette of the residence posed both, challenges and opportunities alike. At the very onset, it meant convincing the client of inhabiting spherical rooms; substantiated by providing plywood mock-ups.
During the structural process, straight beams were ruled out in favour of flat slabs and all exposed columns were made circular; small tools had to be specifically created for delicate tasks, thereby raising overall costs. “But the labourers’ sense of pride that their workmanship mattered to the construction, completely justified the higher rates,” informs Vaibhav.
In terms of advantages, absence of a grid offered fluidity in spatial formations thus creating transformative spaces that foster social interactions between different family members as well as anoint the interiors with a surprise element.
Gadgets like solar panels etc. are eschewed in favour of organic materials that affect a micro-climatic change; in turn, becoming a natural corollary for sustainability.