Aashirwad Residence by 42mm Architecture

Located in Lucknow, Uttarpradesh, India, this contemporary four-story residence has been recently designed for an effluent joint family by 42mm Architecture.

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Aashirwad Residence in Lucknow is an artistic and smart solution to the aspirations of an effluent joint family, which functions both as a single entity and as parts that are put together to create a whole. The four storied house is set on a corner, square plot 35mx35m, at the centre of Lucknow city with the north aligning at 45 degree. The plot has an excellent placement according to the architectural stand-point. The northern, southern and eastern edges have setbacks while the north-west is blocked by the adjoining plot. By the virtue of its position the urban corner of the house receives the eastern sun while the harsh western sun is blocked.

The form

The programmatic requirements constitute functions that allow the house to operate as a single joint family (father with two sons) while at the same time enabling each floor (nuclear family of Father and Sons) to operate as separate units. This at the same time unities the family with geography and allows a lifestyle pattern that preserves privacy.

The volume of the built mass can be understood as statement of functions on the 4 floors namely, Basement, Ground, First and Second. The basement constitutes of two functions- a car park and a huge art gallery. The art gallery was conceived in the place of a banquet which was a part programmatic requirement from the clients. The intervention of the art gallery was a reflection of the younger son’s personality who is an avid appreciator of art. Moreover, the gallery could serve the purpose of a banquet as it does not require any furniture but large spaces for people’s movement and interaction.

For the ground floor demand was set for a drive porch that had space to turn around a huge car around. Hence a 60’x60’ drive porch was conceptualised in the corner of the plot. This gave shape to the built mass as an L shaped cuboids. On the first floor the volume is defined by the large terraces on the north-east and the south. A similar vocabulary of the terraces is present on the second floor .
To ensure a ubiquitous presence of natural light and ventilation various punctures were defined in the functionally obtained volumes. Hence, articulating the formation of courtyards and atriums at different levels. To bring the natural light down to the basement, the northern setback was sunk down through a flight of stairs. Beyond shaping the volume, the terrace on the upper floors and punctures in the lower floors act as courtyards that are individual outdoor space for each floor. This is also a point of visual contact between different floors.

The volume hence obtained was then super-imposed upon by an exo-skeleton grid. This grid started giving the volume a form. Understanding the movement of the sun and placement of the living spaces as per vastu shastra principles, this exo-skeleton became the frame of a screening device designed to both shade at the same time provide visual privacy to the spaces.
For instance, the master bedrooms as per vastu shastra principles are placed in the south west, which is extremely hot. Louvers were designed in this portion to cut the heat in the bedrooms. Secondly, a tall building was built adjacent to the main terraces which had the swimming pool and the Jacuzzi, now the louvers act as a visually cutting screen to protect the privacy of the inhabitants. To solve the problem of visibility caused by the adjacent plot at the lower levels, a vertical planter and a horizontal shading device were created. All these elements put together conformed to the visual and aesthetic sensibility of the cuboids.

The architectural philosophy

The scheme creates a series and sequence of experiential spaces within the house. The architectural philosophy of uniting the outside with the inside can be understood through the building sections. The first floor has a dual courtyard which is an essential part of an indoor-outdoor experiential loop that links all the floors together.

One courtyard is a glass prism, present on all floors, brings light as it is open to sky and the other one is an atrium linking the first and the second floor. The glass prism, unifying factor on all floors links to the exterior stairs through the ground floor living room. The external staircase then moves down to the basement gallery through the sunken courtyard. This creates a vocabulary of common areas that are either linked together visually or physically creating the loop of integration. This philosophy forces cohesiveness. One bother is overlooking the other brother who is overlooking the father. Yet this overlooking is not direct. Hence the spaces act as a whole at the same time as separate entities.

The interiors represent minimalistic style. The surfaces are left pure and accessorised with a layer of art. The Elevation and the external finishes of the house are represented in the internal finishes. The composition is a non conformist stylisation where everything when put together has a soul, nothing feels out of place or monotonous. The interiors of the house are a representation of the fact that the house is architecturally complete as a whole. Each ingredient of the house is tailored to form a part of a larger story that is the reflection of the aspirations, interests and lifestyle of its inhabitants.

Photography by Ravi Kanade

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- by Matt Watts