When Kerala Meets Chennai: A Home That Travels an Extra Mile for Sustainability

In an effort to materialize the sustainable influence of Kerala architecture, Srishti is drenched in the piquancy of ‘God’s own country’. With undulations, courtyards, and wooden accents it sits in the heart of the bustling city of Chennai.

When Kerala Meets Chennai: A Home That Travels an Extra Mile for Sustainability

Imagine sitting on the edge of a plinth with your feet dangling while looking at the sky, in an open-to-sky courtyard, with the roofs caving in, fashioning a sultry atmosphere to go with one’s steaming coffee. This lingering thought often crosses one’s mind after getting a sneak peek of ‘God’s own country’ (Kerala), its lush backdrops, and the sloping roof houses that conquer. Stuffing this slice of haven and transporting it home becomes an ever-so-often, unattainable afterthought. Nevertheless, Benny Kuriakose Architects neatly wrapped up a slice in between four walls and placed it on the bustling streets of Chennai christening it as ‘Srishti’.

“For a person who does know what Kerala architecture is, they will not see it as Kerala architecture. It’s a very contemporary house using elements from Kerala architecture”- Benny Kuriakose of Benny Kuriakose Architects.
Architect Benny talks about the context of the home that is in response to Chennai's climatic conditions. Watch the complete video on Buildofy.



Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Plot Area

4,778 sq. ft

Built-up Area

~ 5,500 sq. ft.

Number of Rooms


Completion Year


Vaastu Compliance



Notorious for his eco-conscious and cost-effective structures, the client had an eye out for the architect since the advent of the idea of constructing a new abode. “He said he would like to get a Kerala house designed,” justifies architect Benny. A conspiracy to acquire similar constituents as Kerala architecture dictates the aesthetics of the abode. It also steers to the coalition between; the sloping roofs while consulting with the room’s height, a petite courtyard smack in the centre, and the judicious use of wood. The bare bone of the abode as well, sings praises of the ‘God’s own country’ and orates its scriptures in the form of dimensions. “The home is designed according to Vaastu,” explains architect Benny on the placement of spaces in certain directions. “It should follow certain auspicious dimensions. The traditional Kerala dimensions use the unit of measurement called ‘Kol’... and ‘Angulam’… everything has to be a multiple of Angulams which is three centimeters,” he adds, giving a brief lesson on the ‘art of construction’.

Vaastu reigns high in the home paying homage to Kerala architecture and its dimensions. Watch the complete video on Buildofy.

The southwestern winds do violence to the southern portion of the country hence, “the house is quite raised from the external road level, the ground level is raised; the house is raised further,” rationalizes the architect. On hiking a few steps and soon after a brief stroll, a wooden seating arrives on the scene inserted between a column and a wall. A shoe rack below stands as proof of its existence, defying the ephemeral mirage. An emerald black suppleness of the flooring accompanied by a warm carving of the wood, influences the narrative coming up. The wooden framed glass on either side of the carved door is analogous to a promo that allows foretastes of the residence.

The home is raised from the road level to stay away from the water logging issues due to the monsoons. To watch the complete home documentary, click here.


The carved wooden door borrows from the copious traces found in the carcasses of the ornately designed South Indian temples. On entering, a courtyard sits patiently waiting to be patted by the visitors. It coaxes light for a chasing game on its brutalist surface courtesy of a textured backdrop wall and concrete pavers with verdant edges, the light then sneaks out to meet up with the connecting spaces. On pushing open a folding door, one comes into a noble living area that sparkles in the speckles of light. The space further sustains the minimalistic vibe, accompanied by hints of Kerala architecture “The furniture has a little bit of a colonial nature,” explains architect Benny. A ‘Nettipattam’ (an elephant’s forehead ornament) adorns a wall, glimmering and spreading its golden glory throughout.

The inner sanctum, glows with white walls and wooden accents under the ample natural that streams in. To watch the complete home documentary, click here.

Every devotee yearns for the pious feeling of going beneath the gopuram, akin, a carved wooden door unveils with a wooden lintel that is extended by a tad, guiding one on the spiritual path to a pooja area. This pooja area sits facing the main door, in accordance with the Vaastu principles, the staircase dupes the attention to conceal the sanctity of the area. “Apart from the living room which is private, the rest of the area is very well connected; there is a foyer, family seating area, dining area, courtyard everything is connected,” beams the architect while walking through the foyer. A spiral staircase twirls in serene symphonies to get in touch with the upper floor, accommodating an elevator in its warm embrace. Architect Benny explains, “Spiral staircase is made of concrete,” and is finished with marble and wood to oscillate between warm and cool ambiance.

The open-plan layout interconnects each space to the other either visually or physically. Visit Buildofy for the video of the complete project walkthrough.

Twirling with the treads one gets access to the exclusive family space on the first floor. “All the three bedrooms on the first floor are in three different corners,” explains architect Benny while standing next to a wooden sculpture in one of the bedrooms. The bedrooms pick different corners to satiate an affinity to the view and ventilation, that are beyond comparison. In one corner, a master bedroom with a wooden walk-in wardrobe and wooden framed windows sits in its pristine white-washed splendour. A wooden bed lounges lazily looking up to the wooden lattice grid portion of the ceiling. The children’s bedroom features a similar aesthetic with the ceiling featuring a gridded wooden pattern surrounded by a pristine white ceiling. “This bedroom has a sit-out, looking out into the road,” explains the architect about the balcony that extends a hand towards nature.

A spiral staircase adjoining the courtyard contributes a frisky touch to the space. Visit Buildofy for the video of the complete project walkthrough.


A serene-looking swimming pool sits on the other side of the bedroom drama taking on a loftier character. “The main challenge we had to face was the swimming pool roof,” chuckles the architect sitting on the ledge of the pool. This swimming pool on the first -floor features a sloping roof with suncatchers in the form of transparent acrylic sheets, entertaining sunlight to collude with the water to fashion shadows that dance on the surrounding walls. An alfresco terrace space on the left is a flamboyant respite of verdancy from the white and warm hues of the abode.

The swimming pool area becomes the crossroads where modern and traditional styles converge. Watch the complete video on Buildofy.

“Waterproofing becomes a major concern, many of the houses start leaking after a period of time… what we did is to give an attic space,” explains architect Benny on the undulations that dominate the elevation of the abode. “The house as a whole becomes cooler,” he adds while reminiscing the good old days when crafting the roofs and unravelling its multifaceted character was a process. “…at one point in time, creating the roof was the most important part of designing,” justifies the architect while glancing at the stepped nature of the roof courtesy of the eclectic heights of rooms, balconies, and lofts that rack beneath. The assembly of the roof and its stepped character is practically akin to the lush tea plantations found in Kerala.

The assembly of roofs lends a rather traditional ambiance to the home, becoming an eccentric element. To watch the complete home documentary, click here.

“…but unfortunately, the masons at the end of the day are paid by the number of bricks he lays and not by the way he lays. Quality is not respected by the community as a whole,” points out architect Benny referencing the durability of the vintage structures. In succession, Srishti becomes the lovechild of strenuous design and quality of workmanship that nurses it to become a splendid and tranquil abode.

To watch the complete home tour, peruse the drawings in detail, and browse additional photographs, visit Buildofy. While there, don’t miss out on the other impressive contemporary homes in Tamil Nadu and across India.