An enveloped enclosure
Design teamSmruti Kamat, Lester Rozario, Sowmya A.S
ClientXntrik Structural Consultants
Completion of project2013
In a 1200sqft. site packed between neighbours, the designers were posed with an issue of providing a salubrious abode for five family members, making use of every inch without congesting it. The Stack House breathes within layers of privacy, looking more inward as a response to the tropical moderateness of the city outside.
Unusually, the design leaves half the plot unconstructed on the ground floor. With a high boundary wall, the ‘urban garden’ lies in the north-east corner of the plot, with the rest of the house oriented towards it. While the ground floor of the house is primarily for guests, the upper floors are meant for private use of the family. The ground floor houses the living room with large glazed sliding doors that opens into the garden. Sitting atop the ground floor contains the family room, kitchen, dining, and parent’s bedroom divided in two floors, all compact yet not cramped. The sleek staircase runs along the length of the house, connecting the floors.
Undeterred by the peculiar layout of the site, the zoning ensures that the liveable standards of ventilation and natural lighting are maintained in the habitable areas of the house. The hottest corner of the house, the south-west corner accommodates the staircase for creating a buffer zone. Bathrooms are stacked on the southern wall again, buffering the heat away from the occupied areas. The massing and location of floors provide shade to the courtyard below, allowing it to remain much cooler and pleasurable during the days as well as nights.
The house stands structurally fit with defined systems for the upper and the lower floors. The lower floor has been made in RCC bearing the load of upper floors made of compressed earth blocks in a wall-on-wall structure. All white walls have been plastered in mud on both outside and inside. The compressed earth blocks used in the house are made from the earth excavated for the foundation. The improvisation of brick patterns combines wire-cut burnt bricks with compacted earth blocks to compensate for the shortage of the latter, with edges twisted in a zigzag pattern weaving an artistic façade for the boundary wall. The house makes most of the space and accommodates a little fun in the open space upfront. The idea was also to encourage others in the neighbourhood to leave a portion of their plot open or green to decongest the locality.