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Design is in the details

Nov 23, 2012:
STATELY: The facade of the Satyans’ home.  (Below) Sustainable  materials have been used in the construction.

Building a beautiful house is like dishing out a tasty meal. There are various ingredients and one needs to follow the perfect recipe. Planning is crucial while building a house. All the various elements will have to be rightly combined and balanced.

Like a good cook who cooks with love, an architect should design with passion and involvement. Such a balance is evident at ‘Laasya’, home of the Satyans at Vidyaranyapura in the City.

The house was built a decade ago on a 2,400-sq-ft plot and has retained its charm even today, thanks to the choice of materials and the way in which it is laid out. Timelessness is the essence of good architecture.

With a built-up area of about 3,000 sq ft, the structure looks larger than it actually is because of the generous third dimension. It cost them around 25 lakh (including both interior and exterior) for construction.

The house has many non-conventional and eco-friendly features. As one faces the building, the fencing made out of dressed granite pickets draws attention. As one walks through a small green patch, one notices that the facade with raw stone masonry lends strength and solidity to the structure.

As one steps into the house, a well-integrated common space comes into view. The private spaces are tucked away in the ground and first floors. The owner, Satyan, says that the structural elements in the building are concealed to provide an appearance of seamless ceiling.

Also, there is no extravagance anywhere in the house, he adds. Though the stress is on functionality, there is no compromise on aesthetics anywhere, he adds. Terracotta used for the floors and the roof regulate the temperature inside the house and the porosity of the material keeps the house warm during winters and cool during summers, says Satyan. Ventilation and lighting of the house is perfect.

Rain harvesting system has been installed in the house and in the courtyard lies an open well. There is also a terrace garden. The sit -out is a beautiful, romantic space. Provision has been made for ample natural light to enter the house. There is also a composite ceiling with a covering of wood.

The high ceiling gives the house a spacious look and the balcony facing the road is just the right place to relax. One can even play chess on the tiles which resemble a chessboard. Ventilators at the roof level add to the comfortable feeling inside the house.

Living spaces have been integrated as Satyan strongly feels that they can strengthen family bonding. “An open kitchen has been created as most of our time is spent around the kitchen,” says Satyan. These apart, there is also an informal study area, multipurpose garage space, a clinic and decorative wall niches.

The best part about this structure is that there is an optimal use of materials. The safety aspect is also kept in mind while designing doors and windows. Satyan points out that because the building is well planned, it does not require much maintenance.

Collective effort.


Latha Satyan says that the inter-connectedness of spaces within the house makes communication easier.

Common spaces are inter-connected and though the rooms are visible, there is privacy as well as good ventilation. “We rarely use ceiling fans in our house,” she says. “The kitchen window and garden doors are glazed without obtrusive grills. So, we are blessed with a good view of the court,” she adds.

The swing in the house is everyone’s favourite spot, says Latha. The kitchen and utility areas are large and custom-made and there is also a formal living space. Also, the split-level in the staircase is carefully planned.

Latha points out that a lot of home work was done while designing the house and even the minutest details were planned. Jayashri Kireeti, the architect of the Satyans’ house, says the designing was all about team work. There is a blend of good design and the right materials, lending harmony to the place.

(The writer is a consulting civil engineer.)


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