A NATURE CONNECTED HOME
UA LAB DOES AN ARCHITECTURAL AND INTERIOR RENOVATION OF A BUNGALOW IN AHMEDABAD, BY LIBERATING SPACE AND CREATING A WARM AND INVITING ABODE.
The project revolves around renovating an old ground-plus-one bungalow in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to create more space for a doctor-couple, who wanted larger areas to meet their present and future requirements.
Designed by UA Lab, this project scoops out more space within the existing built-up area rather than building larger spaces. “Our first site experience, where peacocks and peahens greeted us, guided us to develop a design without compromising on the existing open spaces available to the users,” say Vipuja and Krushnakant Parmar, Principal Architects, uA lab (urban Architectural Collaborative).
But at the same time, the old load-bearing structure provided them with very less freedom to release space, they recall. So, using the design language of walls, columns and frames, they created envelopes around the main structure such that the enclosed space within could be released in these envelopes. All these new extensions, designed as envelopes, are done in exposed RCC structure and kept open from the top; creating a cubic form to the built mass.
“We tried to open the inner spaces of the house towards the outer garden; this helped in establishing stronger relationships with the outside greens and harnessed natural light and air,” says Krushnakant.
As the living room is extended on the west side, all those walls are kept in exposed RCC finish, whilst the other walls are painted. Three openings designed in the exposed RCC portion are meant to connect the living to the green areas on the west side. Soft furnishings seen throughout the house have been done in a variety of cotton fabrics to lend a warm and inviting look to different spaces. In fact, the entire house is done up in Kota stone (with leather and mirror polish) and Jaisalmer stone.
Adjacent to the living is the dining room, which is considered to be the most important family space. “We also wanted to design a verandah space for an informal dining experience,” says Vipuja. The verandah then becomes the casual dining area for the home owners to enjoy their meals under a pergola.
Climb a floor up and one enters the family lounge – perfect for get-togethers with relatives and friends. There is a small standing balcony added to get in the east light, which provides a warm and well-lit ambience throughout the day thanks to this tiny balcony opening. The lounge also doubles-up as a home theatre and the children use it to watch movies with their friends.
The original master bedroom was a tight, enclosed space, with just enough area for a double bed. The architects opened up the old cantilevered balcony, turning it into a bay window and created an alcove, which was designed as a reading space in the format of a baithak (Indian seating arrangement). With the client having a penchant for collecting antiques, a large copper filter makes its stately presence felt. A skylight added to the ceiling of the master bathroom brings in natural light throughout the day.
A common balcony with vertical railing on the first floor connects the master bedroom and the children’s bedroom. A cosy sofa; two chairs and a center table; paintings, bamboo chicks and some palm fronds peeping in make this an intimate space for the parents and kids to bond.
The children’s room is done up in wood and veneer as seen, viz. tables, racks and cabinets. A generous book rack has been well-designed along with tiny cabinets for their trophies and other knick-knacks. Despite a double bed for the girls, a study table, an additional book cabinet, a mirror-dresser and a wardrobe with frosted glass, the room does not look cluttered, but feels rather spacious.
The renovation is a statement of capability of the architects, where the homeowners have not only improved their connection to the outdoors (via bay windows, verandahs, balconies, etc.), but also continue to maintain the same equilibrium with creatures like peacocks, squirrels, etc., who come visiting on site.