With multiple roofs defining the external appearance of this home in Hyderabad, Khosla Associates have juggled form and function with their customary finesse and created spaces that are at once sophisticated as well as acutely tuned in to the vagaries of the tropical climate.
Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad may perhaps be better known for its ‘have money, will spend’ syndrome, rather than any kind of circumspection in architectural design. Amidst all the ‘bigger, better’ ostentation, architects Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand of Khosla Associates stepped in with a contextual design for a home, sans any bling.
“The clients, a young couple, shared our empathy towards local materials, well-crafted spaces and the tropical sensibility of our designs. However, in addition to the understated elegance, they wanted an iconic home which would be a kind of landmark in the locality,” says Sandeep. This, the roofs have achieved, with their sculpturesque, sweeping assemblage. Visible from the road, they are vast cantilevered forms which combat the fierce sun, carefully staggered upwards from the road to cover two levels of the home. “These timber-clad trapezoidal roof forms hover above the living room, master bedroom, children’s room and study. The difference between the slope of one roof and another creates visual playfulness in the elevations,” says Amaresh.
The spatial layout maximises the use of the linear site by dispersing the built form and greenery in equal measure along its length. Public spaces such as living, study, dining, puja, kitchen, guest room and home theatre are housed on the ground floor while the first floor has a master bedroom, two children’s rooms and a family area.
The design incorporates a good amount of glass, achieving transparency without sacrificing protection from the heat. The views all lie inwards, since the periphery of the plot was surrounded by other construction, hence offering no green vistas. The living room enjoys its own garden, whereas the master and children’s bedroom share an internal courtyard. The landscaping is by Dewa Kusuma, the Balinese landscape designer.
In most rooms, just a sheet of glass separates the inside from the outside. The roofs, however, flow seamlessly over both spaces to create large protective overhangs, covering verandahs and patios. The roof of the study, which sits at the lowest level near the road, lunges towards the entrance courtyard and creates both a hardscape and a breather between the road and the house. The portal is polished cement, while the planters are in corten steel. Ribbed sadarahalli stone and cobblestones see generous use.
Within, the private spaces are segregated from the public ones by an ample courtyard which functions as an oasis in the centre. All the courtyards function as pockets where the built form interacts meaningfully with nature. A skylight in the entrance foyer outside the puja room is oriented towards the north, casting a slowly moving patch of light on the floor during the day. “When it gets too hot, a remote-controlled motorised blind can shut it off,” says Sandeep.
The living room enjoys a 16 foot ceiling, with clerestory windows near the ceiling. The pavilion-like feeling is enhanced by the slatted timber ceiling. Clad on mild steel I-sections, the slats enhance the linearity of the roof, creating visual movement as they sweep towards the light outside. “Since the room is oriented towards the north east, it enjoys the quietest natural light,” says Sandeep.
As vastu was one of the mandates, there are maximum openings towards this direction, helping to manipulate the light. Three large globular lights from Moooi anchor the room and create a focal point, their ethereal look elegantly skirting visual heaviness in spite of their size. The living extends into an ample L-shaped wooden deck that overlooks the central garden. Relating to an entirely different sensibility, the design of the house uses the site well, emphasising natural materials.
A polished grey kota flows over the floors, paired with the calm white of the walls. These neutral tones provide a quiet backdrop for the judiciously used aquas and reds of the upholstery.The furniture is a tasteful amalgamation of stylish brands such as Moroso, B&B Italia, Poliform, Moooi, and Dedon with customised pieces designed by Khosla Associates and manufactured by Virasp Batliwala.
These are juxtaposed with a curated collection of art by contemporary Indian artists, like Tauseef Khan, Om Surya, Paribantana Mohanty and ceramist Vinod Daroz, amongst others – with vibrant tribal Kilim rugs sourced from Turkey and Morocco.“There is no clutter, but a rich array of tactile textures in the cushions and carpets,” says Sandeep.
The powder room has a customised cabinet with PU coating in a cheery canary yellow, atop which sits a Gessi sink and tap. The skylight is a long slit above the washbasin, while the embossed tile is by Patricia Urquoila, all anchored by a Moroccan rug. ‘There are several spots of delight like this throughout the home,” says Sandeep.
“We carried out many experiments with the roof forms in this project. In order to create the vast cantilevers and shapes for each of the roofs, we had to create an elaborate tubular space frame truss structure, clad it with cement boards from the underside and then apply a final layer of thin slatted timber to it,” says Amaresh.This has resulted in a structure which has a presence on the street with its dramatic roof forms, but which still embodies the peaceful, timeless qualities of a home.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs Shamanth Patil J.