A Beautifully Integrated Development

Screen House

Screen House is a beautifully integrated development that houses a large family and various age groups. It comprises three discrete spaces, each one serving the needs of sub- sets of the unit, yet linked in spirit and design. The site is located facing north, with all other three sides abutting adjacent properties. Within this, the three main constituents — facing west, north and east — are arranged in a C, encircling a central green courtyard that actually functions as a common space; an open air living room. The connectivity of the three homes is articulated by waterbodies, semi-open spaces and vegetation.

Elevationally, all three structures see a prominent use of brise soleil in the form of screens — hence the name. The landscape was planned to seem unplanned, natural, with several waterbodies at intervals. The exposed concrete on the elevation is tautly balanced with the earthen colour and screens.

A basic, close-to-nature basic palette was selected — stone, wood and concrete — which helped create a stable thermal mass. During the day, the house takes on a very “private” appearance. A veil of timber screens, horizontal and vertical, wraps around the houses, protecting the façade and the main living areas from the harsh sun and heat of the climate of Ahmedabad. But at night, with the rooms illuminated within, the effect akin to a magical lantern.

The interior programme clearly demarcates and segregates semi-private and private areas. Even beyond the main entry, a vestibule caters to casual visitors. After this, the programme unfolds via a passage leading, on one side, to the prayer room, kitchen and dining and patio, and, on the other, the guest room, elevator and staircase.

Bhadri Suthar, Co-founder, The Grid Architects, Ahmedabad

The staircases of each homes are defined differently each a sculptural element on its own. The prayer room is a place for spiritual repose highlighted by daylight that penetrates from a skylight above. The double- height of the indoor living room in conjunction with the green vista that unfurls through floor-to-ceiling windows furthers the ‘living in a garden’ endeavour.

The dining rooms are also extended to a timber patio with a lily pond brimming with koi fish. Essentially, the ground floor living areas are conceptualised as an open space overlooking the landscape filled with biodiversity and water. In contrast, the upper level is private and houses three bedrooms, each one overlooking the central landscape, and featuring a generous ensuite and dressing–closet. The development also shares several facilities such as a well-equipped gym and jacuzzi in the basement of a separate structure, an outdoor barbeque facility attached to a covered, fully-glazed gazebo, and a fire pit to cater to extending to the garden and waterbodies. The Screen House is a quite retreat amidst the bustle of the city.

Project Details

Project: Screen House: Architecture
Location: Ahmedabad
Design firm: The Grid Architects
Photo credits: Photographix India

2nd Project

Traditional And Contemporary, Woven Judiciously

The client, a simple farmer, gave a clear brief for his project: he wanted an office that would take care of issues connected to his farms and one which also functions as a workspace for the next generation which would further develop his passion in organic and sustainable agriculture.

The space would have to reflect his personality — grounded to earth, warm and friendly. He was habituated to sitting out in the open, and therefore the design had to maintain/assimilate this aspect as well.

The conceptual approach was to maintain steadfast connections of the traditional to the contemporary, and to visually retain the light and shadow of the surrounding trees. Key design guidelines were connections and transcending convention.

References to the client’s background — such as the bullock cart and huge clay pots were a part of his legacy — have been woven judiciously into the scheme. The architectural layout was based on a simple grid plan, with the building itself elevated on a platform, flowing into the surrounding landscape and waterbodies.

The sloping roof subtly references vernacular architecture and interior. The south west side of the office has raised landscaped mounds and is surrounded by tall trees so that interior of that part of the office — that is, the arrival space and the private cabins — are shaded from Gandhinagar’s fierce heat. The spaces are orchestrated such that they get maximum visibility to the garden.

The design reflects the philosophy of honesty, embodied through earthy, natural materials, textures and colours; and a strong belief in principles of modernism inspired by tradition and socialism.

Project Details

Project: Farmer’s Den location: Ahmedabad
Area: 2950 sq ft approx.
Design firm: The Grid Architects
Photo credits: Photographix India

About Bhadri Suthar

Co-founder, The Grid Architects, Ahmedabad

With a cumulative experience of 15 years in architecture and interior architecture, Bhadri Suthar, has set a mandate for contextual design, something that is timeless and not stylish. Thus her designs are founded in simplicity and clarity, and create structures that are closely connected to the earth. She bagged two awards in WADE ASIA 2019: Winner-Residential above 3000 sq ft & Runner Up-Commercial-Interior Design.


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