Chromatic House: Whimsical Yet Simple in Nature
The design is a conversation between whimsy and simplicity: between material vibrancy, the play of light and reticent fenestrations, on one hand, and a stark, tapered, singular volume on the other. Anagram Architects had been asked to create a whimsical yet simple structure, enclosed within a typically rectangular plot of 6800 sq. ft. surrounded by neighbours along its three sides. Built on a typically rectangular plot, this house establishes a conversation between whimsy and simplicity meeting all the requirements of the clients.
Rectangular urban plots usually generate rectilinear plans, resulting in stratified and compartmentalised domestic lives. Even without pandemic-induced isolations, urban families often desire deeper, almost rural, linkages and balance between the home and a private garden. Keen on a light-hearted and vibrant city home, the client--a youthful family of five--wanted an active lifestyle invested in spending time together. The home blocks extraneous views while expansively opening into a large lawn, carved diagonally out of the plot. From tinted concrete to shafts of light from pitched skylights, the design infuses whimsical playfulness into an admired material palette and stark volumes.
Chromatic House’s child-like playfulness derives directly from the client’s mandate. A young nuclear family of five, desired a city home for the children to grow up playing together under the actively participative care of their parents. So, the design arranges the home and the lawn in an oblique, but equal, figure-ground and departs from the urban box form by referencing a more rural pitched roof form with a long verandah. The bedrooms on the first-floor spill onto a large tapered A-frame volume which accommodates a mezzanine lounge and the living, dining and kitchen in an open plan. This volume opens into the lawn and vegetable garden, through a long verandah shaded by a pergola, while the study in the attic whimsically connects with it, through a slide tucked under the stairs.
The design is a conversation between whimsy and plainness: between material vibrancy, the play of light and reticent fenestrations, on one hand, and a stark, tapered, singular volume on the other. All the building materials used are sourced from within a 300-mile radius of the site. The tint, patterns and texture of bare concrete and terracotta are meant to infuse youthfulness into an admired and frugal material palette. The red tinted, concrete in expressed formwork used externally transitions to smooth grey concrete internally. Similarly, diagonally patterned yellow brick contrasts with thin-section birch joinery to add delicate warmth to the light-filled interior.
Against the backdrop of the climate change issue, the parents were equally conscious of the environmental footprints of the construction of Chromatic House. The tapering linear form and glare-protected windows--aligned to the open lawn and punctured by a fabric-shaded open atrium--helped orient the house to maximise daylighting and minimise extraneous views and solar thermal heat gain passively.
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The substantial heating and cooling required in the north Indian semi-arid, semi-humid subtropical climate is actively addressed by an under-floor radiant heating and cooling HVAC system. This low-energy system, the first installation of its kind for a residence in the region, helps manage temperature extremes while allowing the house to be naturally lit and ventilated. Photovoltaics installed on the sloping roof generate energy to be fed back to the grid. Almost half of the site is a lawn meant to soak up runoff from extreme rain incidents that are now quite common in the region. As it transpired, the home’s emphasis on private greens and exclusion of the outside noise and views have made pandemic-induced boredom and isolations things of the past.
Project Name: Chromatic House: Whimsical yet simple in nature
Architecture Firm: Anagram Architects
Project Location: Gurugram, Haryana, India
Lead Architects: Vaibhav Dimri, Madhav Raman, Shruti Dimri, Jainy Gandhi, PiyushParimal, Kalaiarasan C
Project Area: 6800 sqft
Photo Credit: André Jeanpierre Fanthome