BRICK BY BRICK
Finding a unique solution for natural ventilation and sunlight while safeguarding privacy, architectural firm Studio Lotus wraps a 345-millimetre-thick brick wall around this Delhi home like a veil
We call it the ‘House with a Brick Veil’. This 10,000 sq ft residence was built within a chaotic neighbourhood in Jangpura, central Delhi, for a retired couple seeking a calm space for themselves and two smaller flats for their married children and their families. The surroundings offered very little by way of views except for a few scattered trees and residential rear facades. The design also had to account for the traffic noise build up given its envelope of major and secondary roads and the large movement of people along the feeder road that the plot faced. Further, the dilemma also stemmed from the fact that the best light for the plot also provided the worst views, which implied buffering living spaces away from the south east face, yet getting in the south winter sun from the same.
Creating The Perfect Buffer
The team rendered the design as a clear translation of the intent for the conservative clients: developing a contemporary response that centred on the possibility of openness without compromising on privacy. In keeping with the tradition of brick masonry in the region, the building was conceived as a brick masonry structure with a high thermal mass maximising daylight and minimising solar gain. Sections have been configured in a manner that they respond to potential views from the house. The layout utilises the maximum permissible built-up area, with the top two floors combined as a duplex and the lower two floors as independent units. The plan pushes the building backwards into the site to extract courtyards and wraps a skin around itself as a buffer between the home and the city. This thick brick wall cloaks the house as a veil, both acoustically and visually. The geometry of openings in the outer brick skin are independent of the windows and
doors of each floor thereby allowing a hitand-miss line of sight through them.
It’s In The Details
The living spaces form the centre, with the two courtyards on either side. Rooms are laid around the core, with each area having openings on at least two walls for natural cross ventilation. Folding doors and sliding partitions allow seamless flow of spaces for the small house to function flexibly. Materials that age gracefully over time have been used to keep the construction process honest and simple with an attention to a high degree of artisanal craftsmanship. Crafted details like stained glass windows and reclaimed doors are inserted into the new construction of exposed brick, cast in-situ terrazzo floors and planked concrete slabs to imbue it with a traditional yet modern narrative.
Adding a Green Cover
Small terraces are pulled into the house, flowing out from either side of the central living spaces into the twin courts to serve as small gardens floating mid-air. Dense plantations on the multiple terraces and the rooftop add a soft layer of screening in the constructed volume and help in creating privacy in a compact space which is opened out to three out of its four sides. This award winning project was selected amongst the top six homes at the global WAN (World Architecture News) ‘House of the Year Award 2016’ and is the ‘Residential Multi-Dwelling Category’ winner (national level) at the IIID (Indian Institute of Interior Designers) Awards 2018.
Architects Ambrish Arora, Sidhartha Talwar and Ankur Choksi founded Studio Lotus in 2002. The Delhi-based firm is acknowledged as a thought leader in the country for their work in the domain of architecture and spatial design. www.studiolotus.in
SMART INTERIORS Clockwise from top left: The metal staircase with a customised railing developed adds uniqueness to the space; a view of the exteriors from inside; the colourful living room decorated with art and craft