Creating a new family home while using the principles of space and light is always a challenge. In this project Aangan Architects show how an open-plan design works beautifully in an Indian setting.
In Vadodara, a new-old house is adding character and charm to the city’s architecture. The home was designed for a couple in their late forties, with grown children no longer living at home. The family had acquired the adjacent plot to the one they owned and lived on and wanted to build a new home for themselves. Aangan Architects, an award-winning design firm based out of Surat was appointed for the project.
“The family had lived in the neighbourhood for many years and were rooted to the place. They were keen on rebuilding in the same place so they could keep their social ties intact,” explains Vishal Shah, Chief Architect at Aangan Architects. “The couple wanted state-of-the-art facilities yet wanted to have the home open enough so the family didn’t feel isolated or closed off.”
To achieve this, the architects designed an open-plan layout on the upper level. The living area is open across the upper two stories creating a double-height space that brings in light throughout the space. “The dining area, staircase, windows and the bridge of the bedrooms form a part of this central space around which all the other areas revolve.” The stairwell is in the centre of the floor and from this vantage point the lady of the house can monitor the entire house.
The house is built in a combination of exposed brick work, form-finished exposed concrete and black kadappa stone flooring. Teak wood furniture along with artefacts collected by the family over the years completes the decor. “One of the things the lady of the house wanted us to incorporate in the design was space for the assortment of handicrafts they had collected over the years,” says Shah.
This brief came in very useful as the design team was able to make changes and use the items as starting points in the design. The warm tones of the brick, concrete and stone act as a lovely counterpoint to the earthy handicrafts.
The second floor hosts the two bedrooms and a home gym. Interestingly, the gym can only be accessed through the bedrooms, thus keeping it private. A garden on the first floor brings in a spot of greenery.
The focal point of the home’s design is the exposed brick work and the geometric patterns on it. From the outside, it becomes a design feature and a conversation starter.
Inside, the openings bring in light that changes during the day creating a relaxed and warm ambience. “Vadodara has a dry climate and we had the freedom to play with bricks,” says Shah. “We discussed this with our mason and he came up with various patterns. This one was the most interesting and appropriate and worked well with the shape of the bricks.”
The geometric floral pattern even shows up in the bedroom. “The owners were keen that the rooms be bright and not dingy. The open brick-work brings in subdued light – not much, but enough to brighten the space during the day.”
Patterns also show up in the kadappa stone and in the exposed concrete. “The patterns keep the visitor and the residents engaged in a continuous dialogue with the design and spaces and maintain a constant interest. This is a very important aspect of the design of the house which is going to be inhabited by just two persons for most of the time.”
On the lower ground floor, the parking area doubles up as a space for ‘satsangs’ and discourses, making it ideal for public gatherings without compromising on the privacy of the spaces in the house.
The terrace, on the other hand, is a feature in itself. A large circular opening in the roof adds architectural interest and light. The rest of the terrace is covered and is used by the family as an outdoor space.
This project shows how a family home can be traditional and contemporary at the same time. Using local materials and playing with space and light have made this home a vibrant, light-filled space that holds many, many memories, both old and new.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Architects