For Dr Josna Raphael, architecture begins with geometry. The young architect believes that geometrical shapes in architecture are best suited for the weather conditions and lifestyle of Kerala and has designed several homes that stay close to the Malayali mind. But among her works, it’s a contemporary style house that she holds close to her heart, although it’s a departure from her usual designs.
A 100 percent contemporary home, the house at Chavakkad gave her a whole new realm to explore in her architectural pursuit.
As the house sits on a plot that faces two roads, Josna designed it with due importance to both sides. The exteriors are in such a way that they add to the significance of the sides facing the roads. She has spruced up the exteriors by adding a composite panel, stone claddings, and a multi-level roof.
The house is bordered by an L-shaped verandah, which has been divided into private and public spaces. The verandah space behind the pillar has been styled as a private domain, and cuts off the view of the people walking through the path outside.
The entry into the rooms is from the foyer. At the planning stage itself, the owner, Jishar, had wanted an exclusive prayer room, which the visitors can also use. This was taken into consideration and a room was constructed, adjacent to the foyer and beneath the stairs. The designer walls served the purpose of making the prayer room strictly private. Another significant aspect about the design of the prayer room is that it is naturally-lit.
Three living rooms make the house unique. A formal living room, a living room only for the women, and a family living room upstairs make the design worth a look. Each of these living rooms have been thrown in with a dash of exclusivity, but has been designed in such a manner that they all open into each other. A rustic Italian-marble-clad wall is the only separation of the formal living room from the others.
The courtyard adjacent to this room brings in ample air and sunlight. The courtyard has been built with pergolas on the top and its wall bears long windows. As the courtyard is between the formal living room and family living room, it also doubles up as extended space that can accommodate more visitors during family gatherings.
The ladies’ living room accords much importance to privacy, while at the same time, adds some extended common space too. A patio has also been provided from the dining area.
Single unit bedrooms
The kitchen slabs have been constructed at a lower height and that makes it easy to even sit down and cook. The slab also doubles up as a breakfast table. Meanwhile, the slab in the work area is built at an added height.
The owner of the house had wanted all bedrooms to be built as a single unit, and so the design is such that a couple of bedrooms hold another couple on top of them. The entrance to these bedrooms are from the corridor, ensuring utmost privacy to each of them. The black, grey and white hues in the interiors are used in the bedrooms too. The wallpapers in the bedrooms too have similar shades.
The family living room has been constructed on top of the prayer room, which is at a lesser height, and makes the living area stand in the middle of the two floors. This family room actually connects the two floors. Significantly, the family room also acts as a common space in between the two levels. The home theatre and utility area come as part of the upper storey. The utility area has been accorded an additional charm with stone clad exteriors.
The house has kept wood at bay. No window or door has been made of wood. Hardwood doors and UPVC windows replace wood here. While the sit out has been paved with Lepato-finished granite, the common area has matte finish Italian marble, and bedrooms have rustic tiles. The furniture is so unique that you wouldn’t find these designs elsewhere, for sure.
Josna, who has done her B Arch from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, competed her M Arch from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. She is currently the head of the Department of Architecture at the Government Engineering College, Thrissur.
According to Josna, the design was born out of the owner’s dream of building a contemporary home. The most important ingredients of contemporary architecture such as flat roof and glass structures, can be found here too.
“The location of the plot that faced two roads triggered the idea of such a design. As one of the paths run in front of the plot, and the other one on the right, it was essential to build the house that looked pretty fascinating from both sides. As the house had to face the north-east, glass (which is the hallmark of all contemporary designs) was used.
“If the house had faced west or south, the use of glass would have brought in added heat inside the house. Throwing in a maximum number of windows on the north and eastern side of the house, plenty of air circulation has also been ensured. The eastern window shades have been given extra length so as to resist the beating down of the sun during the morning hours.
“With two roads running on two different sides of the house, the gate has also been strategically placed. The gate at the meeting point of the two legs of the compound wall adds a dash of beauty to the house that stands tall inside. These design strategies have made this building a copy-proof house,” said Josna.
Area: 5500 sq ft
Architect: Dr Josna Raphael, Kavyam Designs, Thrissur
Location: Chavakkad, Thrissur
Year of Completion: May, 2016