by Jerry ElengicalFeb 13, 2023
Indian firm LIJO.RENY.architects has designed a residence in the city of Ernakulam in Kerala, India, by reimagining an alternative lifestyle that stands apart from the chaotic environment due to rapid urbanization. Called 'House That Rains Light’, it carefully creates a biophilic house that tries to bring in experiences closely related with that of a shade under a tree, surprising nooks and corners allowing kids to play, and gardens embracing a variety of flowers, birds, butterflies and insects.
This residence in Kerala is home to a young couple with two kids who wanted their abode to break free from the conventional arrangement of spaces while also emphasising on the need to make possible a multi-spatial/sensory experience for their children to grow in and be nurtured.
A strong sense of individuality and character also envelope the spaces that also break the stereotypical setting, which is clearly visible throughout the design of the house - beginning from the entry by avoiding the typical compound wall and gate towards the road, to other interventions like the transformation of the front yard to become the parking area, and a sit-out and play area acting as spill-out spaces onto the empty road where the kids can play sports games with other kids from the neighbourhood.
As the ‘House that Rains Light’ is situated in a tight plot of 209.87 sq m, the open layout results in clearly defined spread out volumes, which include areas like the living, dining, kitchen and a bedroom on the ground floor. Also in between them are fitted several landscape pockets that are naturally bathed by a series of skylights above. Such an arrangement therefore ensures spaciousness and openness while also being secure and sustainable.
The living area becomes the heart of this house as it is strategically placed to corroborate access from other rooms and spaces on the ground floor, while also being supplemented by the bright yellow shade resulting in a source of positive and young energy. The kitchen, though hidden from the entry, extends into the dining to form a multipurpose counter and a study table for the couple who occasionally works from home. A shared toilet accessed from the wash area tucked under the stairs and the bedroom remains the only closed space in the ground floor.
The first floor of the house has an open family space with two bedrooms, a common toilet and a balcony accessed directly from it. The skylit courts connect the volumes vertically and horizontally.
The three skylit vertical volumes, the two landscape voids and the staircase shaft, that connects to the clerestory windows at the top, facilitates stack effect and helps control the temperature inside the dwelling during the hot summer months as the state enjoys a tropical climate. The large green walls housing a variety of flowering creepers and climbing vegetables define the façade to extend and cover one-third of the roof to form shaded pockets on the terrace that are apt for an afternoon nap or invite friends or family over for a barbecue night.
Bright hued furniture, furnishings, interior décor and flooring patterns have been positioned systematically throughout the house so as to create balance against the neutral backdrop generated by the materiality of the built structure. The dynamic nature of the interior design also comes to life when the beams of sunlight or moonlight filtering through the skylight change in length and intensity according to the season. Also, a collection of candid photographs make up the series of wall art that has been installed across various spaces of the house.
LIJO.RENY.architects, an award-winning design studio based in Thrissur, has built 'House that Rains Light’ as a place where one wakes up to the sounds of birds chirping and can enjoy the day watching vibrantly coloured butterflies flutter around the flowers.
Name: House That Rains Light
Location: Thevakkal, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
Client: Manju N Jose, Dijo Jose and family
Site area: 209.87 sq m (5.18 ct)
Built-up area: 274 sq m (2950 sqft)
Completion year: 2020
Lead architects: Reny Lijo and Lijo Jos
Landscape concept: LIJO.RENY.architects
Landscape design: Plain Space Studio