Design: Matra Architects and Rurban Planners
Architect: Verendra Wakhloo
Photo credits: Edmund Sumner, Saurabh Suryan-Lokesh Dang
Inspiration Cities have always been the culmination of great civilizations. Today, under immense pressure by ever-increasing population, economic exploitation, congestion of urban fabric and dysfunctional development of infrastructure, the window for benevolent creativity seems to be narrowing down. New orders are emerging, leaving us with discomfort and great anxiety. Cities seem to be competing with each other to set trends that incite new desires. Issues of urban identity and diversity are diluted in favour of global trends. Cities are and will certainly remain, centres of change, however, they need not be seen as only mercantile arrangements but as place, addressed towards people, their cultures, communities, climate and humanity-at large, to emerge as meaningful paradigms. The growing densification in residential areas are affecting nearly all Indian cities and the subsequent pressure on the infrastructure demands rethinking of the existing building types. Change in the pattern of living and trend towards maximizing covered area tend to further erode more quality space. “The challenge today hence lies indevelopingbuilding typologies thatreinstate a balance between built andopen landscape areas, fundamentalto integral living”. Le Corbusier professed in his “five-points” of architecture (published in the journal “ L’Esprit Nouveau”) the design of a new building type for the future city. Many issues raised by him in the 1920s have strong validity even today. The design of the Jenga Residence in south of Delhi elucidates four of his points. 1. Building on pilotis – the open ground floor is planned as common parking & for the support staff 2. The roof garden – large gardens/decks are extensions of the indoor spaces and serve as a significant space for outdoor living 3. The free plan – spaces can be configured freely in each floor, unencumbered by the supporting structure 4. free façade – openings are cut into the external walls in response to climate, natural light, access to decks and vantage points Program & Form Two duplex units, dovetailed as two L-shaped juxtaposed building volumes, contain the stilt floor, GF/FF and SF/TF respectively and aredesigned to accommodate thee client’s brief consisting of two self-contained residences of similar area program. The entire methodology of generating the comprehensive form is based on chiselling out vertical and horizontal volumes, enabling light penetration, vistas, insertion of structure/services and hanging gardens within. Structure & Material Two exposed concrete cores of similar size integrate staircases/lift/MEP services and are the only structural support to thebuilding above the stilt area. This nearly indiscernible arrangement reinforces the idea of spatial continuity and porosity of all spaces. The monolithic textured concrete, created by use of pine wood shuttering, constitutes the main building material and blurs the distinction between structure and surface, inside and outside. Incontrast, the bare rock form awaits natures dynamic.