As you travel along Hosur Road, the strong echoes of the city fade. Everything seems misleadingly mild-mannered, the fast urban pulse steady for the moment. Branch off on to a side road and it is verdant country—unspoilt, with few buildings.
Soon, you are in Smilee Greens, a residential layout in the middle of a cluster of silver oaks where Prabhat and Abha Tyagi have their home. Architect Tushar V. of Ochre won the young architect’s award at the 17th JK Architect of the Year Awards, 2007, for this house. He also received a “special mention” for it at the Habitat Award for the Single Residence Design of the a+d and Spectrum Foundation Architecture Awards in 2006.
Tushar says that the awards were “an assurance that we were on the right path. It pushes you on to other projects”. He and his team had not worked on such a big project (this one encompasses 4,450 sq. ft of space) before.
Viewed across the garden, the house presents a striking picture. The 80ft-long linear walls cut through the heart of the building. They are detached, and so, not heavy. “The roof slabs were kept clear of the walls,” says Tushar. “It gives the structure a levitated effect.” The balconies, too, are “afloat”. “The site itself was very linear (80x120ft), and so we approached the design from that viewpoint,” says Tushar.
The family needed a living, dining and bar area, three bedrooms and two family rooms. They also wanted a swimming pool. The design is a play of lines, planes and angles, often with a sense of the unexpected. Even well-defined spaces such as bedrooms seem unfettered. The large swimming pool forms a centrepiece. Across it is the living room that connects with the garden. To the left, accessed from the kitchen, is the pool deck, with a table for four, accented by bird-of-paradise flowers clustered in a vase in the centre, and bright, metallic chairs gleaming against a leather-finished black granite floor. Light slides over surfaces from the skylight overhead.
Light gets full play inside the house. The colour palette has been kept stark and simple. A stairway with angled railings looks as if it has been strung up in the air. “The idea was to create different frames,” says Tushar.
In the bedrooms, the furniture is as if it’s part of the whole. “Furniture is an extension of the architecture,” says Tushar. In the ground floor bedroom, a ledge over a gravel tray in the corner extends through the wall to form a seat.
There are narrow ledges for odds and ends, cleverly placed drawers and a mirror in a wall recess. Door frames have only two jambs along the length of the frame and minimal detailing. “It reduced costs and kept the whiteness of the walls intact,” says the architect.
In the bedrooms, which are upstairs, doors are within appointed wall niches. The windows are straight, not moulded, and use special hinges. Every corner of the house is full of natural light, thanks to the many skylights. This creates patterns on the frames of exposed concrete—the juxtaposition of textures (the rough of concrete against smooth floors and walls) a deliberate design element.
The house presents different experiences through the day, though early mornings (which the Tyagis enjoy the most) and late evenings are special. The chaos of Bangalore seems far away as silver oak fronds scatter on the freshly mowed grass, dislodged by a sudden gust of wind.
Location: Goolimangla Village, Hosur Road, Bangalore
Size: 4,450 sq. ft
Duration of project: 3 years
Date of completion: Sept. 2006
Design team: Tushar V., Utkalika and Shiny
Flooring:Black granite, pebbles,
Paving: Sadarahalli stone
Pool floor: Bisazza glass tiles
Walls: Pigmented exposed concrete finish, Sira stone cladding
Skylights: Frosted glass, acrylic sheets
Railings:Glass railings with patch fixtures, MS railings with Duco finish
A prelude to the pool, across ledges and steps at different levels
The doors, windows and the raised platforms in front give the structure a light appearance
The pool’s skylight is reflected on the walls and the water
A clear exposition of the physical structure, this rendering shows the progression of the plan.
Text by Lakshmi Mohan
Photographs courtesy the architect
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