Designed by architect Pranav Raiji, this house calls out to the Indian roots of a family. Creative yet steeped in culture, the ‘8C Ratna Aastha’ is a delightful residence that is definitely more than just a project.
A house should depict its inhabitants’ persona, and that is exactly what comes through when one steps into ‘8C Ratna Aastha’, an apartment designed by Pranav Raiji’s firm. Raiji.in is an integrated architecture, interior and landscape design consultancy based out of Ahmedabad and involved in a number of projects of varied nature and scale.
The brief given to the studio was to transform their newly constructed apartment from the bare concrete structure and cement block masonry envelope that it presently was.
The Doriwala family is very social and enjoys hosting parties for its extended family and friends frequently; the clients thus desired a residence that would bind the house with warmth and have an abundance of natural light and air. Ample place to display artefacts collected from their travels was also a requisite.
As one enters the house, the culture of the place is quite visible and welcoming. By placing the dining area in the centre it becomes the junction that connects all the spaces in the house and brings the family closer together.
The more private spaces such as the bedrooms and the study area are tucked away in all the corners of the house, supported by layers of subsidiary spaces like the puja room, pantry, utility and the powder room. There is a certain contrast in the construct of these closed buffer spaces that enhances the living area with more capacity.
The peripheries of the house are lined with slatted wooden screens that can slide over the walls and panels, filtering the natural light and breeze; ideal for the hot and humid weather of Ahmedabad. Standing next to the windows, the house offers vast open spaces on all four sides of the apartment, allowing for a serene view of the city. This was achieved by carving out a cross tunnel-like space in the middle of the house by the architect.
The flooring and ceiling patterns of the house are constructed in a defined manner. The flooring is made of dark stone that highlights the pathway, quite uncommon in most homes, and the low wooden ceiling in turn defines the adjoining walls and the wood work done on them.
The walk-in wardrobes and bathrooms are attached to the bedrooms; the operable glass louver screens and shutters separate the two and keep the privacy factor intact. The glass louvers allow sunlight to enter the walk-in wardrobes and bath areas and offer a spectacular view of the city that one may enjoy while lying on the bed that has a raised wooden deck.
Every section of the house is coloured in contrast and blends quite well with the wood work and other fixtures. The walls and ceilings are enamelled with neutral colours like grey and white, this creates a muted background for the bright upholstered pieces of loose furniture and lamps.
The well chosen, bright tones of fabrics, along with selectively picked artefacts occupy distinct spaces of the apartment and keep it clutter free at the same time. This well balanced element is achieved by camouflaging all the storage units with the help of walls and columns and letting only certain pieces of furniture greet the guests.
As architect Pranav Raiji shares, “The effort behind the structure was to identify and respond to the existing patterns, with the help of renewed and relevant interpretations. The concepts conceived are less complex, the materials preferred are less processed, and the techniques applied are less tedious, yet more effective.”
The overall palette leans towards more natural and simple techniques. The house is contemporary in nature, yet it calls out to the values and closeness amongst the owner and his family. Each section is well articulated and appealing, and the alluring colours add to the calming effect that the house exhibits in all its glory.
Text By Namrata Joshi
Photographs Courtesy The Architect