by Zohra KhanDec 23, 2020
Within gated complexes and their tight seated clusters of dwellings, designing a home and ensuring the privacy of its inhabitants is tough - a dilemma architects Manav Patel and Shivangi Patel of MS Design Studio were faced with while working on a five-bedroom house for a client in Vadodara, India. In tackling the constraints imposed, the duo conceived the Blue Aperture House. Completed in January this year, the home serves as an oasis of solitude and a breezy piece of architecture beautifully crafted with exposed brick and perforated screens (jaali).
While local regulations limited the extent of elevation modifications, as per the architects, the project owing to an early start and the site area being an amalgamation of two units of the society gave them free rein in planning and design of the facades. In striving for a home that would blend in yet stand apart from surrounding houses, the front edifice consists of an imposing brick wall against a soft grey background. "Nothing else can beat the timelessness of an exposed brick façade," asserts the designer duo. To accentuate its materiality, a full-height slit window with a perforated yellow screen is added to provide a pop of colour.
In addition to five bedrooms, the client had requested a living area, a home theatre, and a garden. To safeguard them from prying eyes, the building's main spaces have been oriented towards the picturesque garden that occupies the property's northeastern corner, with spill-over spaces that conceal them from public view. "On the ground floor,” explain the architects, “these spill-over spaces became the buffer between the garden and the main living spaces, while on the first floor, they got a little colonial makeover through the blue aperture screen". Consisting of louvered windows crowned by ornamental arches, the residence's namesake features functions like a semipermeable screen that regulates visibility inside the home while framing exterior views for its inhabitants.
The access to the site is through its northern face where a series of steps approach the entrance foyer that lies adjacent to a parking space for two vehicles. Inside, a louvered metal partition featuring lotus motifs hides a staircase leading to the upper floors.
An expansive living room overlooks the garden through a set of sizeable glass doors on its eastern wall. The backdrop wall for this scene - panelled in Jaisalmer stone patta - is adorned with traditional Madhubani paintings to break its monotony. Upholstered chairs and a stretched-out, L-shaped lounge face a cement finished screen that subtly sequesters the space from the passage and lift lobby.
An eight feet-wide passage flows behind the cement screen into a combined kitchen and dining area. A perforated white screen segregates the two zones, continuing the design's recurring use of such elements as space dividers. Bathed in light from an opening that overlooks the garden, the interiors feature beige surfaces interspersed with wooden inserts.
A floating concrete staircase sits next to the guest bedroom on the ground floor. Topped with delicate wooden treads and handrails, this transition space ushers you to the first floor where daylight permeates the space through a gracious light well and reveals the home’s most striking installation - a fluid mural created by a local artisan.
A set of arched glass doors compose the entrance to a temple at the end of the first-floor passage. Adjacent to this space, the master bedroom reveals itself, highlighted in an antique brass jaali as part of the bed’s wooden backside erected against a royal blue backdrop. A cozy lounge chair and dark tile flooring complete the space, giving it a formal albeit relaxed ambience.
On the opposite side of the passage is the mother's bedroom, characterised by softer, earthier palette, pale grey walls and dark wood furniture. This space is linked to the master suite by a spill-over area, veiled by the blue aperture screens. Terrazzo flooring, powder blue walls, handpicked ceramic and macrame artwork, and geometric motifs imbibe a playful vibe inside the children's bedroom.
The guest bedroom on the top floor sports a back wall with a grid of small ogee arch niches that inject a traditional Indian aesthetic into an otherwise contemporary space.
Embodying MS Design Studio's focus on detailing, the space is at home within its context while retaining a contemporary outlook that is strikingly unique. Shaped by site conditions and client requirements, the Blue Aperture House is an intimate sanctuary in a tight-knit, bustling neighbourhood that marries contemporary elegance with a sense of old-world charm.
Name: Blue Aperture House
Location: Vadodara, India
Site Area: 3400 sq ft
Built Up Area: 5500 sq ft
Architect: MS Design Studio
Year Of Completion: 2021
(Text by Jerry Joe Elengical, intern at STIRworld.com)