Stacked House, Bangalore

SJ[9] | Image © Architecture Paradigm

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Architectural Group: Architecture Paradigm
Project Location: 
Bangalore, India
Project Type: Residential
Project Area : 400 sq. m.
Image Copyright/Courtesy: 
Architecture Paradigm
News Source: 
From the office of Architecture Paradigm

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he project is about exploring this notion of joint family culture in the changing urban scenario. The site is located in Banashankari, Bangalore and is 400 sqm in area with a steep drop of 2.5 meters from northeast to the southwest. It is flanked by roads on the north and western edges. An existing three bedroom house built by the client in the early eighties negotiated this sloped terrain. The brief was to use this structure and add a three bedroom unit on it for his son’s family.

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Concept | Image © Architecture ParadigmThe eighties landscape of Bangalore was dominated by masonry and RCC boxes for shelters influenced by internationalism; the existing was one such structure. The conditions today offers an opportunity to look at and explore the notion of the box beyond the stereotypical back ground it has produced. Design for the stacked house examines these conditions in the context of two families spread over three generations co-existing while retaining their personal identities. Architecturally the project explores the importance of open spaces in the tight urban conditions and its relationship with the built while exploring the notions of privacy and security.

The plan of the existing building was streamlined into three bays to address privacy issues and also respond to immediate open spaces. This foot print of three bays was extruded to the upper levels where one of the bays was subtracted to create a garden at this level. The subtracted bay is then rotated and placed on top of the first level to create another terrace at this level. The resulting volumetric diagram reveals series of terraces and gardens at each of the levels which effectively buffers the house from the neighbors or the street.  This also allows for the creation of outdoor spaces at higher levels structured by the surrounding existing trees in west. Buffers are also developed from the climate point of view where spaces along west and south are articulated as stairs, toilets, terraces, utility etc.   The internal volume is modulated to create links between floors through double heights lower and the upper units are tied together while maintaining their identities.

The house establishes a strong relationship with the outdoor spaces, through varying degrees of transparency and helps in dissolving boundaries between inside and outside. Being connected to the neighborhood also brings in a sense of security.

Sketch | Image © Architecture Paradigm

The central bay is treated as glass volume encasing the connection between first and the lower level. The glass volume is detailed to spill out in case of parties through a large door detailed to blend into the surface. Wooden screens along the west bring in the necessary privacy and security while staying connected to the outdoors.

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The living room of the upper level unit opens out the deck through three meter tall sliding and folding partition detailed to accommodate windows. The northern façade at the upper most levels is detailed with sliding wooden screens which open out to connect with the upper level garden terraces.  Sections and the detailing support passive strategies to maintain quality living conditions within the house. The double height volumes are linked to establish a strong connect with the different levels as well as the ground plane.

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Flexibility is carefully considered to enable different possibilities of usage over time. This is exhibited in the open-ended use of one of the rooms in lower as well as upper level units, integration of indoor and outdoor spaces or the open plan with minimum use of internal masonry partitions especially in the upper unit allows multiple possibilities of usage at a later date.

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The existing building posed a challenge as it was load bearing structure. And few of the internal walls had to be removed while taking the weight of the gardens above. A simple system of Columns and beams has been strategically introduced to support this idea. The inverted beams strengthened the existing slabs while accommodating the weight and depth of the lawn above. The cantilever of 4.5M in the southeastern corner provides the wooden deck at the first level ample shade and also adds to the expression of stacking.

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The idea of stacking and labyrinth is supported with the use of materials and detail.  Glass skylights, ferroconcrete and glass bottle panels, conical skylight cum ventilation device, the wooden screens and pergolas explores the medium of light as a tactile material lending character to each of the spaces.

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Passive strategies like rain water harvesting, solar water heating, terrace gardens along with efficient planning and conscious use of low energy materials and renewable materials like timber renders this project as an environmentally sensitive attempt. The project supports local craftsmanship which explores commonly used technologies in new light.

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The material palette apart from locally available material like natural stone, wood glass and steel explores unconventional technologies like oxide flooring tiles; earth plastered walls, ferroconcrete and precast technologies.

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The expression stems out of a will to transcend the immediate concerns and create spaces which are intimate and warm while accommodating the sensibilities of changing life styles

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