There’s nothing as exciting as building a home that exceeds your wildest expectations. For IT couple Don and Alphonsa, who live in Bengaluru, the major issue was the tiny plot sizing. Despite that, they dreamt of a green home. So, when architect Naveen George Joseph designed for them a plan that incorporated a split-level garden landscaping, their joy knew no bounds.
Scenic valley views
The three-storey house, ‘Don Residence’, is situated on a four-cent plot in a housing colony adjacent to the Hoskote Valley in Bengaluru. The highlights of the exterior are the medieval-European style slanting roofing and the un-cemented, raw look stone walls. The slope of the roofing is at an angle of 55 degrees, which is quite uncommon. Grey roof tiles have been laid and small air holes that are commonly seen in European Houses can be seen here. The brick walls have been left as such without cementing. Most parts have cladding done with slate stone chips. These were the leftover pieces from the flooring. By utilizing this, what would have otherwise cost them Rs 250 per sq. ft. came to just Rs 50 per sq. ft.
Three gardens inside the house
As the area was quite less, the car porch was set up at the basement floor below the road level. The entertainment room and guest bedroom are on the basement level. The inside garden that is given at the back of the house is the real star on this level. The entertainment room and the guest bedroom open to this garden. You can view this garden from both the top floors and there are stairs that lead from this floor to the garden below. Other than through the interiors, there are paths to reach the basement on the exterior too. With a bar counter and barbecue area, this is an ideal spot for small parties or gatherings.
The green patch in the house does not end with the basement. There are separate garden areas on the second and third floors. The placement of the garden is in such a way that this can be viewed while sitting anywhere on that particular floor. Both the gardens have been set up a little below the ground level. Filling the garden plot with mud at a depth of 1.5 feet and adding built-in pipes for watering were all done during the construction stage itself.
The public and the semi-public areas like the living room, family living space, dining space and kitchen come in the first floor of the house. The interior layout flows effortlessly without barriers. The garden on this floor is adjacent to the dining space. From the deck space, you can view the garden on the basement level.
The third floor includes the private areas like the two bedrooms. The garden here is right next to the master bedroom.
The house actually has five levels. The area under the truss roof has been converted into a party space. Around 50 to 100 people can congregate here at a time. The fifth level or the ‘view point’ is above this party space with a half-walled room. A steel spiral staircase leads up to the view place. From here, the scenic Hoskote valley can be viewed.
All the windows of the house are placed in accordance with the direction of the wind from valley. As the sunlight in the southern side is quite harsh, the windows here were made small with large sunshades.
By minimizing the usage of concrete and using only eco-friendly materials for construction, they were able to reduce the heat levels in the house to a great extent. Avoiding plaster for the brick walls, using Jaisalmer stone for flooring and using mud walls for the entertainment room have given the house a unique raw and ethnic appeal.
Naveen George Joseph completed his BArch degree from Bengaluru RV College. His priority is building eco-friendly,natural feel homes ideal for city dwellers.
Was the small plot size the biggest challenge here?
The challenge was to bring in maximum greenery and having gardens that were connected in the entire plan. That we had only four cents to work with made it even tougher.
What about the concept of having landscaping and gardens in the interiors?
The family can actually enjoy the benefits that a garden brings only when it is in the interiors. Having just a small area landscaped in a four-cent plot would have been a waste. We have to utilize the available space in the smartest and most beneficial possible way.
Polish and shine has been done away with!
Using the materials in its raw form has a certain charm to it. Honest expressions always have value that lasts and this stands the test of time unlike fake facades.
What methods were used to reduce heat in the interiors?
Two large wind turbines used above the stairs area helps to recycle the hot air filling up in the interiors of the house. Fresh air circulation is made possible with the help of these turbines that work on wind power. No electricity is required to make this work.
Area: 3500 sq. ft
Architect: Naveen George Joseph, De Square Architects, Bengaluru