As one walks through a quiet street along a small playground in the core of the city, listening to the rising cheers of kids in a tense game of cricket, the eye catches a glimpse of an earthy-looking house in between the lush landscape that surrounds it. And then they notice the name 'Ambara'. Ar. Prathima Seethur from Wright Inspires in Bengaluru explores how architecture can take many shapes just like her experiments with materials.
A compact site
'Ambara' is a compact home for a family of three and their pet dog. Ambara which means 'the sky' in Kannada, is a house that evolves organically opening up the spaces within. For anyone walking on the street, Ambara stands out as a house, piquing the interest of passers-by who want to discover more about it. With a unique palette of natural materials, the house is situated diagonally opposite a park teeming with the chatter of children playing around. The house is bordered on three sides by neighboring residences, prompting the architect to open up the house to the sky and welcome it in.
The clients' vision
The clients, a small family of three, with a pet dog named Mr. Sunshine, hoped to create the most of their limited area. They envisioned a home that was both environmentally friendly and functional. A place where Mr. Sunshine could literally play with the sunlight pouring in from the aperture above! Because they had been observing the architects' work for some time, their journey to attaining their ideal house became a breeze.
Play of light
As soon as you enter the residence, you are greeted by a wide, well-lit foyer, which opens up your vision to the entire house space by space. A clear glass elliptical aperture on top of a spiral staircase allows ample light into the house. This light takes on a life of its own, changing usually static spaces into interactive visualizations. The theatrical effect of light falling on multiple design elements at different hours of the day throughout the year is nothing short of amazing. Sitting on these stairwells and gazing up at the passing clouds is a great way to unwind. The moon occasionally peering into the house on full moon nights adds to the allure of this feature.
A material assemblage
Natural materials in different forms and applications become an important part of creating an organic essence of the house; be it the granite wall for the guest bedroom that muffles down the voices from the streets, or the wood and glass pairing that gives the furniture in the house a contemporary touch. The wood extends as the flooring of the bedrooms and the staircase, giving them a warm and therapeutic ambiance. What connects the house to traditional architecture are the Magadhi Pink Stones used as a backdrop for the stairs leading one both upstairs to the bedrooms and downstairs to the multifunctional room. One material that has been extensively explored is clay - in the forms of terracotta tiles, bricks, roofing, and jaalis, clay interacts with different spaces creating a dialogue with its user.
Interconnected spaces emerge
As soon as you cross the site's threshold, you're drawn deep into it, traveling through an open, beautifully landscaped verandah towards the house's entrance. As one enters inside the house, their visual horizons are widened up. The architect was able to generate a sense of connectivity throughout the house by using an open floor plan on all levels. She chooses to open up the kitchen to the living and dining areas so that daily activities would bring the users closer together. The private bedrooms on the top floors open up to a common study area which in turn opens up to the floors below with the help of the circular courtyard. In some ways, the courtyard serves as the house's spine, around which the rest of the spaces are built. This spine aids in the creation of a visually and functionally seamless linkage of spaces. Sipping a cup of steaming coffee while relaxing on the terrace surrounded by beautiful foliage and watching butterflies and birds pass by becomes the ideal way to unwind at the end of a long day.
A house morphing with nature
The house is built in such a way that it blends in with nature. It accomplishes this by inviting nature in through landscape, natural materials, and natural light from the sun and moon. It instills a sense of belonging in the areas contained therein. As they go through the journey of creating memories to look back on, the clients have developed their own little universe within this small site.
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