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Kumar Moorthy & Associates

New Delhi, Delhi, India-110070

M House VV, Residential-Single family dwelling

Project Status: Completed

Situated on a 670 sq. m. plot in a quiet neighbourhood of Delhi, this residence attempts to offer an alternative to the builder driven trends in individual plot redevelopment- that of a high rise warren of often poorly lit & ventilated spaces in a bid to maximize returns - straining the city’s scarce resources and services as also changing the character of localities from open, low rise & verdant to overly built up and congested. This house offers a new paradigm, one which recognizes that such properties may be too large and too expensive to cater to a single family unit in the current context, but tries to preserve some of the important characteristics & pleasanter qualities of the older bungalow pattern.. Only two independent units, one for the owners and one for tenants, are enabled on the plot, both of which are spacious as befits the premium nature of the property, and use up the maximum envelope permitted by the byelaws but through many design ploys try to replicate the calm reposeful quality, the flow of spaces ,the proximity to gardens & greenery and the graciousness that characterize the now disappearing bungalow homes of the sixties & seventies.

The challenging brief is resolved through the primary organization into two vertically stacked interlocking units, each spread across 1 ½  floors, the lower unit flowing out into contiguous gardens and the upper unit opening out into a series of terraces and terrace gardens and a multitude of planters off each of their spaces, viewed from and accessible to most living spaces within the units to allow proximity to and views of greenery and access to fresh air.. The interplay of levels within each unit enhances visual connectivity & spatial continuity across floors as also creates a variety of articulated internal volumes emphasizing the public or private nature of the spaces.

 A sequence of public spaces  stretches across the length of each unit expanding the visual space and providing a through view right from the shaded front garden to the deep private south facing rear garden, as well as enhanced light & ventilation. Intervening rooms flank the otherwise marginal side open spaces, thus offering multiple garden views not generally afforded in city homes. The central atrium, visible from most spaces as the central design core  in the lower unit, brings in verdure and a slice of sky perceptibly into the heart of the house through the glass skylight. Large internal glazings and hidden sliding fenestrations separate the rooms for a modicum of privacy & efficient temperature control without disturbing the continuum of space.

The independence & privacy of each unit is maintained by the provision of an optimized entrance zone from the gate to proximate entrances to
the residences, screened from view from within by outflung masses and  solid 

walls at ground level. The greater periphery of the lower unit is thus ensured privacy and large openings from each of the rooms utilize this potential. 

The exterior volumes and masses are steadily recessed towards the SE & SW to enable ample morning and winter sunshine & views of and connectivity to gardens through mitred corner windows. Large doors in the lower units corners slide back completely - sometimes into concealed recesses,  open onto wraparound decks and blur the transition from interior to exterior. This is further reinforced by  the continuity of wooden planked flooring from inside to the deck. Protection from the elements is afforded by means of sunshades, pergolas and deep cantilevered verandahs especially towards the West.

The recessing volumes of the plan find outward expression in the exterior, and along with the use of set back terraces and terrace gardens, disaggregate and relax the exterior massing of what would otherwise have been a monolithic three storeyed structure and lend it a more low slung, easy appearance. This is furthered by the two toned exterior structured to break up the overall visible massing. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the two toned earthy exterior, using multihued locally available stone masonry & sand coloured exterior finishes, offset by fenestration & detailing in wood,  lends homogeneity to the overall building. Rich aqua coloured handmade tiles highlight the edges of the masses and provide visual relief as do extensive wooden pergolas as greenery supporting light filtering elements which also break the skyline. Sleek stainless steel railings and expanses of  glass  lend the exterior a quiet contemporaneity. 

This juxtaposition of natural earthy materials & textures with sleek contemporary elements & finishes is carried into the interiors as well. The extensive use of gleaming white offset by detailing in dark polished wood unifies the interior space while allowing pride of place to the views of greenery.  This simplicity is counter pointed by edgy but resolved detailing in wood ,glass and steel, which highlight the nature of individual elements of the interior and by occasional splashes of colour  which enliven the otherwise tranquil setting.

The house uses but subsumes high technology in order to preserve its quiet nature. High tech networked sytems including multichannel audio & video , concealed speakers, security devices, artificial ventilation , air-conditioning and various other gadgetry have been concealed into false ceilings & in purpose built enclosures to render uncluttered living spaces. Glass in sheer large expanses has been extensively used, not as mere trend based modern usage but to innately reinforce the openness and flow of interior spaces reminiscent of the lost quality of houses that predate air conditioning, as also simplify and make transparent otherwise cluttered opaque elements like the staircase railing.

Photo Credits: Eyepiece Photography

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Area (in sq.ft)
10,400
Cost (INR)
10,000,000
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