Nestled along the serene Kuvathur coast, a mere 80 kilometers from Chennai, Karai stands as an ode to harmonious living with nature. Crafted to evoke an intimate connection with the natural world, this weekend home seamlessly blends traditional and modern design principles, redefining the essence of contemporary living. Dive deeper into the essence of this nature-centric masterpiece as the design team at Rain Studio unveils its intricacies, exclusively shared with SURFACES REPORTER (SR).
The living unit, placed near the sea, was planned to be hidden in lush greenery and surrounded by reflection pools. It's a modern version of the traditional 'nalukettu' house, with a central courtyard that adds life to the home and helps control the climate. The design includes four rooms with attached baths, all organized around a central brick-laid courtyard. The upper-level lounge provides a great view of the sea and horizon.
The roofs are sloped and covered with standard Mangalore tiles, creating a unique pattern with glass strips. The dining and kitchen areas allow natural breeze flow, utilizing a filler slab roof with earthen pots for cooling. The walls are made from pre-used Mangalore tiles, forming a colorful pattern, resembling a ludo board game.
Innovation in Construction
The design team worked closely with the construction team to innovate using traditional techniques and recycled materials.
Old window shutters were used to create doors, and discarded stone pieces formed a mosaic for the flooring. Local labor was trained on-site to use traditional techniques like mud mortar and Mangalore tile roofing.
Materiality and Textures
The raw materiality and textures were highlighted through careful detailing. Pre-used Mangalore tiles formed most of the walls, creating earthy volumes against the green backdrop.
Compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB) matched the height of Mangalore tiles. Cut toughened glass pieces allowed the summer sun to brighten up the spaces.
Glass inserted roof
Repurposed Objects and Fixtures
Reclaimed objects, like window shutters from demolished houses, were repurposed for doors and windows.
Bath areas were illuminated naturally, and brass faucets were left to oxidize, creating a natural patina. Custom-detailed fixtures, like traditional oil lamps transformed into light fixtures, added character to the space.
Imperfections in finishes showcased the human touch. Local stones created patterns on the floor, and handloom-inspired blocks covered the corridor. The lotus pond and swimming pool added aesthetic appeal, with an antique fishing boat as a sculpture. The dense landscape softened the earthy structure, with native plants thriving in the coastal environment.
Karai aimed to reconnect people with nature by recreating the memory of a family home in the countryside. It sought to bridge the gap between humans and the environment, treating the site as a sanctuary with minimal intervention and celebrating the experience of the sea.
Project Name: Karai
Project Category: Architecture
Project Location: ECR, kuvathur, Chennai, Tamilnadu (IND)
Project Size: 21000 sq.ft
Project Status: Built
Designed by: RAIN studio of design, kilpauk, Chennai, Tamilnadu INDIA
Lead Architect / Designer: Ar.Sriram Adhitya, Ar.Vamsi krishna,
Team: Ar.Sriram Adhitya, Ar.Vamsi krishna, Ar.Ankita Alessandra Bob, Ar.Gokulraj Vijayakumar
Photographer credits: yashrjain
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