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.stu­di­olo­

Photograph by RAVI ASRANI

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

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