This Biophilic Overture House Gives a Modern Touch to the Ancestral Malabar Style Architecture of the Region | Thought Parallels Architecture

Malabar Style Architecture of the Region | Thought Parallels Architecture

Nikhil Mohan and Shabna Nikhil of Thought Parallels- an architecture and design practice in Kozhikode- designed this Overture House sprawling over an area of 10000 sq. ft. Located in the leafy surrounds of Payyoli, Kerala, this family home provides a contemporary touch to the state’s traditional Malabar Architecture. Architects told SURFACES REPORTER (SR) that the client- Mr. Ayani wished to have a home that could incorporate the surrounding landscape and the splendour of its essence. Read here to know how the architects designed this house as per the client’s needs:

The owner of the home, Mr. Ayani was planning to branch off from the city to his native village where he could live close to his family and relatives.  He believed that this home will be a part of his extended family environment.

The family’s appreciation of the design process and the realization of the demands of the place made achievable dialogue between client and architects.

Biophilic Design

The home is a state with unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied topology.

Aerial view

Intended to feature biophilic design, the house’s distinctive form echoes the traditional Malabar style architecture.

It is partly inspired by the ‘tharavadu’ (traditional houses) of Kerala, a repository of the Indian culture. Westerly breezes are directed over the facade, creating a calm, protected zone on its leeward-side.

The house’s primary form is created by a series of mild-steel frames in a bold expression of structure.

Principals Shabna and Nikhil aim to integrate the environment to create graceful, life-enhancing spaces. They constantly draw on the littoral lifestyle, referencing the ancestral architecture, while creating a serene, coastal feel. The stylistic analysis of the context is inspired by the classicality of casual modernism.

Connecting Interiors with Exteriors

From outside, the house has a peaceful quality; simple white walls with effortless openings. In many ways, it's like a person.

Though deceivingly modest from the street view, the inside is colossal as a result of the way the design builds into the lush green landscape.

The appearance of the house is adorned by details such as the courtyards, the segregation of the social and private spaces and the volumetric play of the interior ceilings. This gives integrity and individuality to each space.

The programmatic allocation is simple, it consists of five bedrooms, a kitchen, a formal living-dining space, a family living-dining space and a covered parking.

All this is unified in a single volume with the two courtyards that mark the difference between the social and private spaces, which are distributed through a central corridor.

Each introverted space is visually connected to the opulent exteriors, an approach to benefit health and well-being.

“We want to nurture a family here. The kids should be able to play and the house should be welcoming for company..”

The Ayanis are very particular about the division of social and family spaces. To cater to this need, wilfully the social space has been positioned away from the family area.

On entering the house, the main corridor provides an immediate view through to the two smaller courtyards.

Hardwood screens have been installed to visually connect the indoors with the outdoors. Further, the design solution focused on the interaction of the family living-dining area with the large courtyard.

The limits between interior and exterior spaces are diluted. Nature is summoned into the house which becomes greener towards the large courtyard.

Material Palette

In terms of materiality, the house exhibits elements that integrate it into the imagery of the location, recalling the traditional houses with variables that provide a modern touch without radically breaking with the aesthetics sought by the client.

The interior work is mainly explored in search of a meaningful integration of shape, color, texture, and design, the entire space integrates the different planes and volumes.

The overlay of Indian Teak Wood in contrast with the Kotah Stone creates a juxtaposition of subtle textures from the ceiling to the walls and floor, visually softens the project as a minimalist lavish residential space.

This along with a seemingly delicate steel structure, synergistically connects with the coastal environment to create a calm and concordant composition.

Incorporation of Renewable Energy

The residence also includes a variety of renewable energy methods to curb energy consumption.

A solar panel system has been incorporated to delve into the idea of sustainability.

The landscape design preserves existing native species, aiding both the reduction of water use for irrigation and lowering temperatures with the surrounding vegetation.

The ultimate goal is to create luminous living spaces with natural ventilation while simultaneously exploring the possibility of using renewable energy. An aspiration to achieve enduring spaces.

Project Details

Site: Payolli , Kerala, India.
Plot area: 10000 Square feet residence in a 1 acre plot.
Status: Completed 
Architecture, Interior design, and Landscape: Thought parallels architecture.
Photography: Ashik Aseem 

Shabna Nikhil and Nikhil Mohan

About the firm:

Founded in 2014 by partners Nikhil Mohan ( Principal Architect ) & Shabna Nikhil ( Creative Director ), Thought parallels is an award-winning architectural  design practice based in Calicut, Kerala, India.


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