The Ghose House in Bengaluru has been designed with much love and much planning by Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects to accommodate the needs of an urban family dreaming of a connection with nature at all times.
Designed with a consummate understanding of facts, the home is a simple pad, flushed with the goodness of natural light and ventilation. During its evolution, a lake that could have become a dear totem, disappeared when city sprawl took over. It has now become a valley that is still threatened by unbridled urbanisation; but the home gallantly faces it and lets in soothing breezes. In an architecturally precise sense the house is a minimalist haven sitting on a rocky hill, built for an urbane family seeking the romance of a rustic farmhouse.
Even before it acquired its current look and form, this house was witness to much change. It stands today in the midst of the fast-changing suburban universe of the city of Bengaluru, looking out towards an inexorable mix of natural beauty and concretisation.
Admittedly, the plan and design of the house underwent multiple changes to not only accommodate the expectations of the family, but to also take into consideration what was possible with the site area and surroundings at hand.
Besides in this complex web of design planning, the paramount consideration was cost. “The brief was for a low-cost house and that was the most critical factor which influenced the planning,” says Roy Choudhury.
To bring together all the disparate elements, and keep them all moving in obeisance to the low budget fulcrum, Roy Choudhury designed an ‘introverted yet open’ scheme. The house has a wonderful balance going for it – the spaces not only promise a reassuring connection with the outside, but also ensure adequate privacy.
The design team worked on a fundamental level to achieve this nexus; it broke down the overall idea of the house and then went about dividing spaces and materials.
Roy Choudhury wanted to infuse ‘drama’ and ‘satire’ into the scheme, and bring in lots of light. Keeping the privacy factor in mind, the fluid communication with the greenery all around, is carefully limited.
Tree top views are aplenty, but these are more of the viewing gallery kind and not the in-the-midst-of-the-wild variety. A well-pruned garden offers the residents more control over the level of greenery.
The sustainability credentials of the home came about not from any decided green ambitions, but as part of a design aesthetic that focuses on simplicity and high-efficacy. The floor is all in-situ mosaic; the bricks were sourced locally; the need for artificial lighting in the day-time is non-existent, and the lighting scheme being stark, its effect is enhanced by the surfaces around.
Mesh-adorned windows facilitate ventilation perennially, making fans unnecessary through most of the months; a rainwater harvesting system too is in place. “But it is essentially about how the family functions in the house, that moulds the home ever so slowly,” adds Roy Choudhury.
The façade is dominated by the deck and the balcony, and a layered structuring of the utility spaces has set in place superb ventilation ducts.The interiors are dominated by sheets of white paint, which are brilliantly set off by strategic wood detailing.
A skylight throws down ethereal sweeps of light over the staircases. Roy Choudhury’s style eschews useless frills, and is devoted to well-lit, airy rooms that embrace intelligent doses of drama. Evidence of this is in the brilliant blue wall that springs up in the midst of all the colour restraint.
Also remarkable is a hovering wall that is suspended to face most of the social spaces of the home, and is embossed with thick glass jars that in some other avatar were filled with biscuits at chai stalls. This repurposing is an interesting detail and adds a small dollop of humour to the interiors.
The Ghose House was one of the first projects that Roy Choudhury took on in his career, and the dedication to getting it all right is evident all across the outside and the inside. The smattering of brick walls and the textural differences on some room walls point to the careful consideration paid to style and identity, in spite of all the practical constraints. And that I feel was the key to the winning design of this house.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs By Sindhur Reddy