by Jerry ElengicalSep 08, 2021
The occupants of this Bengaluru home have a refreshing, front-seat view overlooking nature every season. Coupled with striking features like a burgundy, sculptural staircase and slender, angled concrete openings that decorate with suffused daylight, House by the Park designed by Khosla Associates is warm, contextual, and contemporary. Lead designers for the project, Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand, designed the dwelling to maximise light and views to the three-sided park that lies to its south with resident old trees, which also outline its concept and design. The five-bedroom residence is responsive to its environment, its built elements “always in conversation with the surrounding greens,” relays the firm based in India.
Elegant and stoic, House by the Park is flanked by a building to its north and a shady, verdant street to its east. “The triangular park with towering old trees flanking the site to its south was the primary inspiration for the house and all spatial decisions were taken to intelligently maximise views and interaction with them. The natural material choices were also influenced by the same,” explains Anand.
The plinth sits eight feet above the road because of the site’s contours, handled imperceptibly with steps lined by a series of layered concrete and the corten steel walls of the exterior. House by the Park is dressed across three levels that orient themselves to take advantage of the views on its east and south. Elaborating on the location, the firm shares that the leafy neighbourhood of ‘Dollars Colony’ is an upmarket and private residential one in North Bengaluru, which got its unusual name from the number of non-resident Indians who bought property here. With its 265 residences forming a peaceful cul-de-sac, the colony is flanked by an Air-force Colony of 400 acres on two sides and the CPRI (Central Power Research Institute) of 150 acres on one side.
A thoughtful series of angled concrete fins span the three floors of the structure and cleverly responds to the built-up views of the north side, casting diffused east light via pinhead glass into the interiors. “Contrastingly, the response to the park on the south is completely open and it is the dialogue between the built form and park that changes from space to space,” Anand continues. The double height, decked wooden verandah here opens vertically, welcoming the tall branches of the lofty trees inside, while the master bedroom strategically captures another old tree trunk and its mighty foliage in its window frame.
Khosla and Anand relay that the highlight of the house, and one of their favourite elements to design was the sculptural staircase with the decorated wine-red underside. "The folded plate mild steel staircase, with wood draped on it, is set against a backdrop of the dramatically angled, vertical concrete fins. Its strategic location to the north was necessary to open up the living spaces and bedrooms at each level to unobstructed views of the park at the south, while intelligently shielding the built-up views to the north. While moving through this spine, there are views of the park through square cutouts on each level; conversely, from the living areas, square cutouts on each level frame the staircase in graphic compositions, almost negating the need for a painting,” they mention.
One steps into the sprawling residential design through brushed copper front doors, into the ground floor that contains a foyer, informal and formal living rooms, the dining room, kitchen, a guest bedroom, and a generous south verandah overlooking the park. The first-floor hosts bedrooms for two children as well as an open plan family room and the master bedroom. The level above has another child’s bedroom and an entertainment lounge that leads into a large open terrace.
The material and colour palette respond directly to the natural vegetation surrounding the house, giving it a bright and airy persona. Tactile materials that would be in harmony with nature were adopted - concrete, corten steel, ribbed wood and polished cement - all have a textural quality to them and feel warm when juxtaposed with the surrounding greens.
Exercising thoughtful restraint in décor and planning, the interior design is dressed in large swathes of polished kota stone for the flooring, ribbed timber on certain ceilings and sustainable wooden doors and window frames throughout the house. The exterior uses river finished kota stone for the floors, ribbed wood for cladding the roof, polished cement for soffits, corten steel and concrete for walls.
“For the doors and windows we used Accoya Plantation grown wood meant specifically for the construction industry. We used this over teakwood which depletes forest cover and is not a sustainable species. The entire interior of house has polished Kota stone as the flooring, and as a practice we try and source local materials for our projects as far as possible,” says Anand.
An imposing antique Mukhalinga in an alloy of brass and copper mounted on a base of textured wood highlight the main living area. A salmon coloured Kolam hand knotted carpet by Tania and Sandeep is suspended vertically on a powder blue wall in the staircase’s mid landing, complementing the fins and the staircase. Vibia decorative lighting illuminates the dining room and the master bedroom, while a white Eames lounge chair from Herman Miller sits in the latter. Most furniture employed inside House by the Park has been custom designed by Khosla Associates and manufactured by Virasp Batiwala, while the outdoor furniture dressing the south verandah were sourced from Italian brands Kettal and Varaschin.
“There was a conscious decision to have the décor elements play a supporting role to the architectural interventions. With the surrounding green enveloping the house and a strong architectural response to the environment, we deliberately quietened the interior response. We felt that it should sit elegantly within the shell and not stray away from the highlights of the house, the framed views,” explains Khosla. “We felt no pressure to clutter the spaces with art and some highlight pieces were placed only to accentuate a particular space,” he says.
“Our clients were already familiar with our design language and philosophy. They trusted us to manipulate the site and its environment appropriately, respectfully. An existing house with no architectural value was brought down and we were given a blank slate to arrive at our design language keeping all their pragmatic requirements in mind,” the architects conclude.
Name: House by the Park
Location: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Carpet Area: 93 sqm
Architect and Interior Design: Khosla Associates
Principal Designers: Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand
Design Team: Sandeep Khosla, Amaresh Anand, Nikhil Shetty, Anuja Mallya, Anusha Y.S and Nisarg Shah
Contractors: Hi Tech Constructions