Prashant Dupare of iStudio Architecture

Young Turks Dated:  March 19, 2015
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Ar. Prashant Dupare

Ar. Prashant Dupare, co-founder and partner at iStudio Architecture, a collaboration of young architects open to experiments and innovation in architecture and design, talks to us about his award winning Brick House project and more.     

Can you tell us something about your journey in designing “Brick House”? 
The house from its first viewing speaks to the observer of its individuality. Rising from the ground and flowing into a peak, each varying dip and peak seems to be a journey in itself. Stone and brick stand in stark contradiction to each other, boldly segregating spaces, altering the integrity of spaces. The severity of both brick and stone is offset by the flow of the bamboo along the smoothly curving roof. Each space flows into another, leading into a seamless space held by the central courtyard.  The planning has been dictated by the views and the climatology, so as to take maximum advantage of natural light and ventilation.  The impact of the architecture of the structure is strong, always leading the viewer to a new observation, not allowing him to be complacent about the space which he occupies.

Night view of court

We were very clear from the beginning that the structure is to be at heart a very honest design. Each material was introduced for its beauty, texture and play. The evolution of spaces was the most difficult aspect of the design. Each individual space had to juxtapose perfectly to the next. It needed to flow into the next space flawlessly. We took a long time over the planning of spaces. But once the plan was finalized, we need to modify it very little. The visualization of spaces were very intuitive and inspiration would strike after continuously mulling over an idea.

Courtyard opening into open terrace

How did this concept of “Brick House”, come into your mind?
The client is a very simple man with a rural background. He had come to the city after spending an idyllic childhood in his village. The site is at the client’s native place Duparepada, Wada, close to Mumbai. After living in city for most of his adult life, he wanted to move back to his roots. He enjoys reading, teaching and farming. He wanted to live a quiet life, close to nature and involved with local people and some experiments in farming.  
For him, the memory of his home was a simple brick structure with a verandah, where he spent his time playing and his mother cooking inside the house. We decided to experiment with exposed brickwork with his memory as our base. The palette of materials is very local and placed so as to set off the contrast in each other.

bamboo ceiling

Can you tell us something about the wooden ceilings, inside the “Brick House”?
The ceilings that you see in the Brick House are bamboo and they acted as shuttering while the casting of ferro-cement and now act as the structural tensile element in the roof. 
We had a vision of the roof form long before the selection of material. In fact, we explored the idea of various materials like wood and bamboo, tensile, RCC slab, thatch roof, Mangalore tiles before settling onto ferro-cement with bamboo. Since the form had been visualized, we were just not willing to settle for an inflexible material. Certain materials were not in keeping with our theme of a low-cost and energy efficient structure. Since the form was 3 dimensionally rotating, we used a flexible material like bamboo. The decision to retain bamboo as structural tensile material was taken a day before the execution.

What has been your most defining moment so far?
We won the NDTV House Design of the year 2015- west zone awards and IIA Jury Award and Architects' Choice Awards 2014. The appreciation we received at such prestigious platforms was truly heartening and encouraging.

Twisted roof curves

What is your dream project like?
'The world is our oyster' and we are too young to have a single 'dream project.' Any project with a client willing to look beyond conventions or is willing to explore ideas, design and technology is a dream project.

If you were to change one thing about clients, what would it be?
In a design project, any client along with aesthetics, has a list of priorities that has nothing to do with design. For some, it is time or cost or an elevation or customers and so forth. This list may often supersede design in preference and in such cases, clients prefer to go by the rule book. However, a client who comes with design as his foremost concern, is open to new ideas and implementation of experiments. It is not that constraints inhibit experiment, rather they encourage it. But it is a matter of the perspective with which the client approaches the project and whether he can be made to contemplate the larger implications of newer solutions. 
We always advise our clients 'Keep calm and trust your architect.' :)

Grill

Words of wisdom for young architects...?    
Our advice to young architects would be to not be afraid to experiment and go beyond your boundaries. The world is truly yours and everything is possible. So do not stick to what you have already seen and try to explore more.  It is not a fad to be sustainable or eco-friendly. Rather it should be integral to your work.

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