In today’s urban setting, an Indian joint family home reinvents itself without losing its soul.
Several joint families are alive and kicking in our cities and not just in the daily soaps on our entertainment channels. While a study on the homes of scheming joint families on television can be interesting in itself, it is the aptly named Kindred House in Delhi that we should all sit up and notice.
Kin•dred. [kin-drid] noun
– a person’s relatives collectively;
– a group of persons related to another; family, tribe, or race.
– Natural affinity, kinship.
The Kindred House is the home of two brothers and their families. It’s a 21st century joint family composed of two nuclear families living under one roof unlike a traditional Indian joint family which spans three or more generations with strict filial hierarchies.
But at the same time, this compound family sought to house an environment where teenaged cousins too are fostered by the four parents. The home has multiple social spaces of overlapping territorialities and usage, while preserving specific zones for each family unit and member.
The design is born from the relationship between the two branches of the family and how they sought to nurture it.
The design creates internal and external residential spaces for the families by evolving close and nuanced volumetric relationships between the built masses. Three materially diverse, cuboidal volumes are supported on an interlaced, cantilevering structural system in front of a larger monolithic block.
Through this almost “jenga-like” arrangement, the volumes appear to float between a pergola on the roof and a pool of water at the entrance, held in place by shared spatial relationships. The voids, thus created, allow landscaped external spaces to penetrate deep into the living spaces flooding them with light and fresh air while allowing access to garden spaces on the ground as well as on the terraces.
Just like the family, materially too, the design seeks to enhance the “conversation” between diverse materials and built volumes through pattern, texturing and layering.
The “floating” blocks progress from the framed “hollow” cube of the entrance porch to the perforated meditative spaces to the monolithic guestroom block. The tiling pattern of the wood-clad guestroom block is seen as minimal fenestrations in the river stone gabion of the meditative spaces and is carried further onto layer of stone slabs that act as the brise soleil for the monolithic block at the rear.
The design is also interesting in the way it keeps the joint family home cool. Since the home is amongst a row of plotted houses, facing south and exposed to high thermal gain, there is thermal stacking in the space between the blocks. This is to draw a gentle breeze into the landscaped areas on different floors.
These spaces are also generously shaded by the cantilevers and are very pleasant and accessible outdoors during the hot and humid months. They further flow onto sun terraces exposed to the warm winter sun.
The family living space and the bedrooms are stacked in the monolithic block at the rear with large windows to the north; their thermal gain further reduced by locating the bathrooms and dressing rooms along the southern face. The extensive terrace garden affords insulation against the summer heat gain and the winter heat loss.
Designing and redefining the kind of home a family with a different lifestyle and interaction with innovations, style and surprises is where the kindred home shines and sets an example worth noticing.
Text By Gopal MS
Photographs Courtesy The Architect