POINTS OF VIEW
Architectural firm Design Ashram in Calicut (DAC) lets this home by the Chaliyar River, Kerala pay homage to its surroundings while using straight lines and a contemporary aesthetic
Nestled by the Chaliyar River, this property in Azhinjilam, Calicut, Kerala is called the Hidden House. The built area is located in a pocket deep inside the expansive four-acre plot so the bungalow does not have visual access from the main gate. Instead, the driveway organically becomes a series of winding curves. Visitors catch glimpses of the home from shifting perspectives; some between the dense foliage, some undisturbed by these. From one point to another, the elements that are emphasised in the facade change, making the journey a treat for the senses. It took us four years to create this magnum opus.
CLEVER SPATIAL MANAGEMENT
The client lives overseas and travels to Kerala often with his family. He wanted the perfect balance between luxury and simplicity. Another requirement was connectivity between family members within the living space. The natural endowments of the site—the verdant vistas and the proximity to the Chaliyar River were elements that needed to incorporated inro the design of the home. Spatial organisation was done in such a way that the public and private zones were clearly separated by a light-filled foyer that leads to the outdoor courtyard. Further, in the family living area, the open kitchen, living room and bedrooms are arranged around an enclosed patio, ensuring that a degree of visual connectivity between
the inhabitants always exists. We kept as much of the existing vegetation and maximised views of the river.
LOUVRES ADD CHARACTER
The elevation of the home was developed from its massing (a term that refers to the perception of the general shape and form as well as size of a building). The facade was kept simple. The L shaped louvres add character to the residence, while providing a degree of shade to the exterior surfaces and giving rise to interesting effects with the play of light and shade.
ONE ROOM FLOWS INTO THE OTHER
You enter the 12,000 sq ft bungalow through a cobblestone driveway that follows the curves of the meandering river. The main verandah overlooks a standalone porch, clad in travertine stone and surrounded by landscaped pockets which opens into a light-filled foyer extending to an open-to-sky courtyard. The formal living area connects to the outside through a river-facing deck. The dining area and open kitchen are connected to the family living area which looks into a verandah surrounding the large enclosed courtyard. The bedrooms are arranged around this patio, behind the wall of which is a staircase leading to the service and utility area.
PRETTY LIGHTS, BEAUTIFUL FLOORS
The lighting fixtures are used like jewellery. Take for instance an intersection of cubes that hangs suspended in the formal living space or the sculpture of circles woven through each other that light up the dining area. Here, light becomes art. Like the lighting the flooring stands out as well. The bedrooms are detailed with the warmth of wood while the kitchen uses white vitrified full-body tiles; sheen is added with the presence of gold metal sections at the joints. Clay tiles, a stone facade and slender metal louvres in shades of brown and grey complement the natural beauty surrounding the built area. The result is a home that looks modern yet homely.
Architect Brijesh Shaijal started Kerala-based BS Architects in 2005 and is the co-founder of World Architecture Travel. A decade later he set up Design Ashram in Calicut (DAC) with the aim of developing a community that thinks beyond architecture. www.dacgobal.org
COURTING GOOD DESIGN The louvred facade of the Hidden House (top); the living area opens into a courtyard (above)
SERENE SPACE The bedroom (right) has a wooden flooring to add warmth to the space; the living room (below) uses custom-made carpets to create a rich feel