Located in Bharuch, Gujarat, this box-like home designed by Samira Rathod Design Atelier depicts passive design features. Aptly dubbed “Cool House”, this home incorporates inward-facing windows and courtyards that circulate air through the building to keep it cool in order to beat the scorching summer heat. Read more details about the project shared with us by Samira Rathod, Principal Architect. Read on:
“We believe that architecture is a response to many parameters, context, site, vegetation, geography, and climate. When building in a dry and arid place like Bharuch, the heat, locally called "loo" in Gujarati was a big such parameter that the architecture had to respond to,” says Rathod.
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A Cool Haven
When making a house, it is imperative to take cognisance of many practical parameters of comfort, and for this house in Bharuch, it was particularly tackling the summer heat.
“The name Cool House has come from the way the house has been designed, a respite in the summer, a tree's shade under the scorching sun, the house as in the words of our patron is like a funnel that channels all of Bharuch's wind into the house, making it a cool comfortable haven to live in,” elaborates Rathod.
The house is designed like a box, rather inward-looking with windows that are strategic to bring in the cool breeze and diffuse the sharp light. The south facade is kept fairly dead and the wind is allowed to pass from the southwest courtyards and escape from the northeast courtyard ventilating the entire house.
Courtyards Ventilating The Whole House
Designed like a track with rooms on either side the house is punctured vertically making two courtyards on either side of the central track like a corridor.
The courtyards begin from the first floor and frame views of the sky from the house. Being in a tight row house fabric in the town the context really is another house in great proximity.
One courtyard has shallow waterbody that cools the incoming wind before it enters the house. This courtyard also has a jali that allows for the wind to be channelled and then thrown into the house like a whiff of cool breeze on a summer afternoon. The other courtyard has trees on the first floor making a sort of context for the house from within and allowing internal windows to see the tree crowns.
“Although inward looking there is a constant choreography of inside and outside movement within the house where you encounter the courtyards and can step out to them from the central track, " mentions Rathod.
To help with beating the heat, the house also has thick external walls and a cool soothing interior done in lime "chuno" that helps cool the rooms from within.
The house is an example of contemporary architecture that heavily relies on our innate knowledge of climate and materials that work in such harsh climate regions.
The house, like a box from the outside, has unique materiality, one painted black and the other very tactile using small custom cute siporex bricks, the semantic makes the logic of a track corridor and volumes on either sides very evident. Small pockets have been identified within the mass that punctures it and green is allowed to grow from within.
The 'Cool House' in Bharuch has been a surprise for us all. Although everything has been consciously designed within the house, the breeze in the house at the peak of summer has really blown us away, literally and figuratively.
About the Firm
Samira Rathod is the principal architect and founder of Samira Rathod Design Associates (SRDA). Established in 2000 in Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra with an uncompromising sense of ethics and passion for design, SRDA has built an enviable portfolio of a variety of architecture, interior projects, furniture designs and art installations. Rathod earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Sir J. J. College of Architecture, an affiliate of the University of Mumbai, in 1986. Two years later, she completed a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Eight years after beginning her own office, Rathod founded the SPADE India Foundation – a non-profit, discussion forum of architects, designers, photographers, authors, and editors. She is also the founding director of SIRCLE (SPADE India Research Cell) as a means to more deeply investigate influential ideas uncovered through their discussion forum. Rathod is a visiting faculty member at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA) in Mumbai and Centre for Environmental Planning and technology (CEPT) in Ahemdabad. SRDA has won numerous awards over the years.
Project Name: Cool House
Office Name: Samira Rathod Design Atelier
Lead Architects: Samira Rathod
Firm Location: Mumbai
Completion Year: 2022
Gross Built Area (m2/ ft2): 10,500 sq.ft
Project Location: Bharuch
Team: Jay Shah (Project Architect)
Project Management: HR Constructions. Mitesh Jadav
Structural Consultant: Rajeev Shah
Photo Credits: Niveditaa Gupta
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