SONMARG APARTMENT

Mumbai
1961-66

This is an early attempt to deal with the context and climate of Mumbai. In order to create two lines of defence against the rain and sun, a belt of auxiliary spaces (verandahs, studies, dressing rooms, etc) are arranged to form a zone of protection around the main living areas.

The apartment is on two levels with a difference of 75 cm between the living room & the main bedrooms Since there are only two apartments per floor, each unit is open on three sides, creating through ventilation and a subtle ambience of cross-light. Over three decades of occupation by the same family, the apartment illustrated has had to deal with many different changes in the ages and the space requirements of its users – and this is where the cordon of auxiliary spaces along the western and eastern faces have proved extraordinarily responsive and flexible, combining with the main rooms to deal with a large number of spill-over activities in an easy and economical manner.

PAREKH HOUSE

Ahmedabad
1967-68

From the housing types developed for Cablenagar, came two pyramidal sections: One, termed the Summer Section (to be used in the daytime) protects the interior from the heat, the other, termed the Winter Section (to be used in the early mornings and the evenings) opens up the terraces to the sky.

Since this site faced east-west, this house consists of 3 bays with the Summer Section sandwiched in between the Winter Section on one side and a Service Bay (for circulation, kitchen and toilets) on the other. The bearing walls, made of brick, express directly the climatic concepts which underlie the design.

CABLENAGAR TOWNSHIP

Kota, Rajasthan
1967, unbuilt

Thick roofs are slow to heat up, but once they do, they continue to radiate heat back into the house all through the night. A better way is to minimise the amount of incident sunlight falling on the roof surface – by a light porous membrane, like a pergola. By raising this membrane, the roof can act as a sheltered terrace.

Furthermore, the profile of the internal volumes can be adjusted so as to generate convection currents (as in the Tube and Ramkrishna houses). Units of varying categories were developed for this township, using the local sand-stone throughout: in 3-metre long slabs for the floors (spanning the width of the house), cut into rectangular blocks for the walls, and as strips for the pergolas (which were contiguous over the housing clusters).

PREVI HOUSING

Lima, Peru
1969-73

Thirteen international architects were invited to submit designs in a limited competition for a prototypical housing complex of 1500 houses. Each house is incremental, capable of accommodating up to 10 persons (including grandparents). These units, 3 metres wide, broaden to 6 metres at the centre, in an interlocking pattern which orients them NNW-SSE (climatologically the optimal orientation for Lima). All units have vehicular access from one end and a porch connecting the community spine at the other.

In 1971 a small cluster of a dozen units were built of each of the 13 entries. To make it more earthquake resistant, the common-wall between units was modified to a zig-zag (in which are located service elements such as stairs and toilets).

RAMKRISHNA HOUSE

Shahibhag, Ahemdabad
1962-64

This large residence, built for one of Ahmedabad’s mill owners, is based on the spatial and climatic concepts developed in the Tube House and the Hindustan Lever Pavilion. The plan sets up a series of parallel bearing walls, punctuated by interior courts and “canon”, climaxing in the living room which opens out onto the main garden to the south.

The house is placed at the northern end of the site so as to maximize the size of this garden and to enhance the spatial sequence of getting there.

TUBE HOUSING

Ahmedabad
1961-62

This “tube” house was first prize winner in an All-India competition for low-cost housing organised by the Gujarat Housing Board Though the programme specified walk-up apartments, these row-houses provided the same density – and larger living space per family.

The section is shaped so that the hot air rises and escapes form the top, setting up a convection currents of natural ventilation. Inside the units there are almost no doors; privacy being created by the various levels themselves, and security by the pergola-grid over the internal courtyard.

GOBHAI HOUSE

Golwad
1995-99

Located in the middle of a fruit orchard about 70 km north of Bombay, is this house for an artist. From the entrance gate, one travels down the palm-fringed driveway towards the thick masses of chikoo trees. The house itself is just one event in a narrative pathway that commences at the entrance gate and goes down the middle of the orchard, all the way to the far end. Other events along the way: are the sculptures, the Afternoon Pavilion (hidden low among the chikoo trees), and the Ziggurat (leading to a small gazebo at tree-top level).

The same principle is followed in the design of the house itself where, as in the case of the cyclone relief project, there are three separate zones, each built for a specific purpose. In this case, the first is a box for living, sleeping, cooking and washing. The second is the studio for painting. The third is the pergola-covered terrace for sitting out in the evenings and early mornings, and for sleeping at night. These three zones are interrelated in a manner which articulates their separate identities and yet preserves the compactness of the overall form.

BUKIT CAHAYA

Kuala Lumpur
1994, unbuilt

These luxury houses are situated around the periphery of a spectacular golf course, which had been created in a 500-acre site of hills and valleys and breath-taking views. A dozen architects from around the world were invited to design two houses each – one for an uphill site and the other for a downhill house. This particular house is on a sharply sloping downhill site. As in the Verem villas, it is a series of layers, progressing from the entrance, down through the main living areas, to a large double-height lanai overlooking the landscape.

The spatial organisation of the plans is extremely simple, but the architectonic forms have been articulated in a rather free manner, so that when the house is to be repeated on another site, these elements can be adjusted and rearranged, in order to take advantage of any particular views and breezes that might be available in the new location.

HUDCO COURTARD HOUSING

Jodhpur
1986, Unbuilt

Using the basic design principles for the units at Belapur, the units are grouped around a hierarchy of open spaces. The houses cater to four income categories, from lower to mid-level income families. There are, however, only two basic plot sizes. Each unit is independent from its neighbour which allows for incrementality and upgrading as families become upwardly mobile. The construction materials are those that are readily available. Local stone is used in a centuries-old traditional.

HOUSE AT KORAMANGALA

Bangalore
1985-88

The traditional courtyard houses of South India represent a typology much older, and really quite different, from that of the bungalows built by the British – which is usually a long shed (with the living and dining rooms down the center and the bedrooms on either side), wrapped around with continuous verandahs. The result: rooms which are large and generous, but sadly lacking in light and cross-ventilation. In contrast, the traditional old Hindu houses in Tamil Nadu and Goa are usually organised around a small central courtyard, with a tree or tulsi plant in the middle.

The front door, intentionally placed off-center on the main facade, leads one along a shifting axis to arrive at the courtyard – which acts as the central focus, and brings wonderful bounce-light and ventilation to the rooms that surround it.

INCREMENTAL HOUSING

Belapur, Navi Mumbai
1983-86

This project, located on six hectares of land about 2 km from the city centre of New Bombay, attempts to demonstrate how high densities (500 persons per hectare, including open spaces, schools, etc.) can be easily achieved within the context of a low-rise typology. The site plan is generated by a hierarchy of community spaces, starting with a small shared courtyard 8m x 8m around which seven houses are grouped. Each of these houses is on its own piece of land, so that the families can have the crucial advantage of open-to sky spaces (to augment the covered areas). Furthermore, they do not share any party-walls with their neighbours – which makes these houses truly incremental, since each family can extend their own house independently.

These houses cover almost the entire social spectrum from squatter families to the upper income brackets – yet, in order to maintain the fundamental principle of Equity, the sites themselves vary in size only marginally (from 45 sqm to 70 sqm). The form and plans of these houses are very simple, so that they can be built and extended by traditional masons and craftsmen-thus generating employment in the Bazaar Sector of the urban economy (i.e., exactly where they are needed for the new urban migrants).

KANCHANJUNGA

Mumbai
1970–83

In Bombay a building has to be oriented east-west to catch the prevailing sea-breezes, and to open up the best views in the city: the Arabian Sea on one side and the harbour on the other. But these unfortunately are also the directions of the hot sun and the heavy monsoon rains. The old bungalows solved these problems by wrapping a protective layer of verandahs around the main living areas, thus providing the occupants with two lines of defence against the elements.

Kanchanjunga, an attempt to apply these principles to a high-rise building, is a condominium of 32 luxury apartments of four different types, varying from 3 to 6 bedrooms each. The interlock of these variations are expressed externally by the shear end walls that hold up the cantilevers. The tower has a proportion of 1:4 (being 21 metres square and 84 metres high). Its minimalist unbroken surfaces are cut away to open up the double-height terrace gardens at the corners, thus revealing (through the interlocking form and colour) some hint of the complex spatial organisation of living spaces that lie within the tower.