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A Breached Monolith of Light and Togetherness

The architectural design of this northwest-facing residence in Delhi showcases a brilliant fusion of modern aesthetics, functional considerations, and innovative spatial arrangements to cater to the unique requirements of a three-generation joint family living on a narrow 326 sqm. plot. Situated amidst the bustling urban environment, this abode not only addresses the challenges of limited visual privacy and the intense city surroundings but also celebrates the idea of togetherness and openness for both family members and friends.

Rather than conforming to the conventional layout patterns often seen in urban residences sharing party walls, the design approach boldly reimagines the built volume as a dynamic, breached monolith. This departure from the norm involves a departure from standard circulation routes and spatial divisions. This unconventional strategy not only sets this residence apart but also optimizes the spatial utilization on the compact plot.

At first glance, the faceted and insulated stone facades of the house stand as guardians against the lack of privacy caused by its proximity to the busy city road. These facades not only provide a visual shield but also contribute to the aesthetic charm of the structure. The strategic placement of service areas, en suites, and closets at the rear is a masterstroke to counteract the southern heat gain, ensuring that the interior spaces remain comfortable and energy-efficient.

The design's pièce de résistance is the deep void that has been meticulously carved out. This void, bridged at both the front and rear on the upper levels, transforms into a captivating meandering courtyard at the heart of the residence. This central courtyard functions as the epicenter of social interactions, suffusing the house with natural light and pulling in breathtaking views from every room. The integration of balconies further enriches the experience, inviting the outdoors in while maintaining a strong connection to the surrounding environment.

To ensure a harmonious play of light and space, the design employs a clever interplay of surfaces. The surfaces are adorned with a delicate blend of white and wood renders, imparting a sense of warmth and sophistication. The inclusion of rooftop glazing injects a generous dose of luminosity, channeling daylight deep into the basement levels, where light penetration might otherwise be challenging.

The environmentally conscious design goes beyond aesthetics. The atrium's cross-ventilation, expertly regulated through the operation of windows on the bridges, holds the potential to be augmented through thermal stacking during the summer months. Furthermore, the implementation of an evaporative cooler addresses the need for humidity control. Additionally, during the monsoons, a wind tunnel effect is harnessed, fostering natural ventilation and adding an element of dynamic interaction between the external environment and the interiors.

Project: Cleft House

Location: New Delhi, India

Architect: Anagram Architects

Design Team: Vaibhav Dimri, Madhav Raman, Vineet Dhall

Site Supervision: Anagram Architects

Model-Maker: Inhouse

Completion of Project: October 2018

Photo Credit: André Jeanpierre Fanthome, Suryan//Dang


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