This residence in Surat, designed by Aangan Architects,makes up for its lack of area width with a soaring visage of elegance and chicness.
The tenor of this structure moves from being fresh and sunny outside, to broody and mellow inside. This home in Surat, Gujarat, was conceived to create an open sense of enclosure, and success in that tricky mission has been achieved by letting the spaces interact with each other, and the outside.
Surat-based Aangan Architects had just 190 sq. yd. of plot area to realise ‘Oojas’, but they have done it with the consummate sensitivity of a firm 12 years in the business. The verticality of the house was a natural result of the space constraint. It created ‘bays’ of utility functions – the central bay is the light and ventilation conduit; while the two side bays are the stay spaces.
“The house with an elaborate requirement but a small footprint made it compulsory to go vertical; at the same time the high flood level in the area ruled out the requirement of any habitable space on the ground level,” say the architects. Therefore the ‘higher ground floor’ is where the living areas are, while parking and staff areas stand below. Actual stay happens on the first and second floors.
A central, tilted brick cube is the most dramatic statement of form in the house. The inclined plank hovers almost dangerously over the ground, but is actually solidly bulwarked by hunks of exposed concrete. The three grids are 4mt/2.5mt/3.5mt wide,dividing the façade, and making the house just 10 mt wide.
The central bay opens out to a brilliant little patio surrounded by manicured grass. A cosmos-influenced look dominates in another segment of the home, where the floors are black cement but with speckles of pearl stone and mirror lodged in them. It would feel like walking on stars here.
All the natural tonal brilliance of wood and brick fill the rooms, affording it that subtle mix of the traditional with the uber urbane. Adding to that effect is the lighting scheme, built through the use of self-designed lights called Shunya – 02.
The abundance of teakwood furniture is another element of understated elegance in the house.
A stairwell made of wood, curtained by brick walls and bridged by steel platforms, juxtaposes the central light bay.
A colourful lexicon entailed the decisions on the materials to be used in the home. Exposed brick was roped in to bring along some “vibrancy”. The floors were to sport black mosaic motifs and pearl inlay to look “mischievous”. Exposed concrete may inspire thoughts of stability, strength and toughness, but here it was employed to be the harbinger of “calmness”.
All the sandstone detailing on the table-tops and artefacts, of course, was for “serenity”. The combined effect of this is of an elegant house, not filled to brim but occupied uniformly by comfortable props. It aids the cause that every slant and bend has become a part of the room’s character and not a jarring residue of the façade.
Oojas embraces all the elements of a home. It is multi-faceted in the sense that it makes accommodations for the shifting moods and interests of the residents. It is a deft balance of traditional spaces and more modern forms and furniture. “The exterior and interior of the house are very much inspired by the Gestural Architecture of the house – ‘The building wants to say something’”, state the architects. And that sums up the appeal of the home as well as any words could.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Architect