Based on whether a house is being built in the city or in a village, should the architecture reflect a pronounced difference? Will the shape, design or nature of the house be influenced by such factors? Well, yes, say experts.
We were eagerly looking forward to visiting Benny’s new home situated at Urulikunnam in Pala. The winding roads that lead to Urulikunnam had lavish rubber plantations on both sides.
The rubber trees soon gave way to a dreamy plot replete with beautiful trees, creepers and bamboo. The house is set a little away from the road. It is not entirely contemporary and though truss roofing is done by laying roof tiles, it didn’t look traditional either.
The architect of the house, Ryan, has smartly made a house that looks as if it is very much a part of the verdant green plot it was situated in. Being a close relative of the family, Ryan was able to incorporate all aspects of their lifestyles, likes and tastes into his plan. Although the owner, Benny, is an engineer by profession, his favorite activity is farming.
For family and guests
As the house was built by retaining most of the trees around it, there is a farm house like-feel to the exteriors. There are two car porches. One is in front of the house, whereas the other one is right outside the work area. The porch in the front also plays a role in controlling the sun’s rays from directly falling onto the sit-out. The lavish sit-out leads to a foyer. From the foyer, you can enter into a living room and the veranda that surrounds the courtyard.
A highlight feature of the plan is that it has divided the house into exactly two parts. The living room meant for the guests and visitors is set away from the rest of the house for privacy sake. This room has a very formal feel to it. A partition wall designed using wood-plastic composite panels separates the living room from the foyer. The wall of the living room that faces the exteriors has been given large windows to let in ample light.
All the other rooms are placed around the central courtyard, aka nadumuttom, which fulfills the need for brightening the interiors and also doubles up as a party area. The roofing of this space is done with metal grills and it can be slid open with a lock mechanism.
The first room that you come across near the courtyard is the bath-attached guest bedroom. Adjacent to this is the family living area. This is an informal space where the family can come together or watch TV. From the family living room, you can step out onto a patio. When the doors of the patio are left open, the family living along with nadumuttom turns into a large space ideal for family gatherings.
Bedrooms as a single block
After the family living room, the bedrooms catch your attention. There are three bedrooms in the house and all of these are set in one line. There is a link through a common bathroom for the master bedroom and the little children’s bedroom. The windows of all the bedrooms have a special built-in seating space. A veranda in between the bedrooms and the nadumuttom has been converted into a study area.
From the bedrooms, there are stairs leading downwards to a cellar like underground room. As the plot was in the form of various levels, the mud from here was utilized to build the space. This space can be used as a play or party area and also may be turned into a bedroom in the future.
Kitchen and utility
The next major part of the house is the kitchen. The kitchen, utility area, work area, kitchen with traditional stove and the servant’s room take up quite a lot of space in the plan. Outside the kitchen, there is a lovely vegetable garden. The dining room is adjacent to the kitchen.
Concrete has been done on important parts of the house and for the rest, truss roofing has been done. The sit-out, car porch, the kitchen and the connected rooms come under truss roofing. Showy or decorative elements have not been used in the interiors. Yet, the intermittent terracotta cladding done for the tiles in the interiors and exteriors makes it attractive and adds a unique touch.
Cross ventilation has been given priority in all the rooms. All the furniture is custom-built. Teak and timber, procured from their own property, have been used to make the doors and windows. Both the architect and the family believe in beautifying the house by using natural materials and hence, there is no room for any sort of artificiality here.
Architect Ryan Thomas is one of the founding members of the Bengaluru based firm, Genesis Architects. He completed his B Tech in the year 1998 from MCE College of Engineering in Karnataka. He has been in the architecture field for around 15 years now.
A family with modern tastes and a house set in traditional locales. How were you able to bring these aspects together?
I ensured that the exterior of the house seemed like an extension of the surrounding areas. The exterior was designed to look like it was part of the landscape. The interiors were designed to match the likes and tastes of the family. A central courtyard forms a link between the interior and the exterior design of the house.
Did it help your work because you are related to the family?
To some extent, it did. I was familiar with their lifestyle and tastes. And I also had an idea about the homes that they lived in prior to this. But what influenced me most was their ancestral tharavadu that is right in front of this house. I wanted the new house to imbibe the openness of that thraravadu and how it so effortlessly gelled with the natural surroundings.
Area - 4000 sq ft
Architect - Ryan Thomas
Genesis Architects, Bengaluru
Owners – Benny and Mariamma