by Zohra KhanSep 23, 2022
It has the power to balance a vignette, to put you at ease, to bring about deep emotions and even to upend expectations; it’s the beauty in the void. From nature to design to music, well-balanced and purposeful negative space plays as important a role as the subject of the art form. In architecture, it’s the voids that can enhance the beauty of the solid volume and allow for the materials to interact with light in ways that would not have been possible without them.
It’s something the Hyderabad-based multi-disciplinary architecture and interior design practice, Kanan Modi Associates, expertly brought about within the architecture of Sireniti House in Hyderabad, India. "(The) architecture of the house is inspired by post-war modernism, with the formed concrete structure meticulously casted on site…interacting with the ever-changing light patterns caused by deep pergolas above and evoking varied emotions throughout the day,” explains Kanan Modi, the principal architect at Kanan Modi Associates, which also has a presence in New Delhi and Mumbai.
There is an ease to the nuanced design with each visual thoughtfully curated. With each composition striking but not harsh, spaces in this private residence seem to flow into the next seamlessly. Says Modi, "Alongside physical and functional requirements of the spaces, we aligned our thoughts into how this home can play a role in enhanced wellbeing of its occupants. We introduced sky-lights with deep, angled pergolas to bring in controlled daylight into each of the spaces. Large overhangs connecting indoor and outdoor spaces have been so seamlessly intertwined that it's hardly possible to really differentiate the two…”
The predominant materials of concrete and basalt are softened with the warmth of oak strategically used on walls and ceilings in a myriad of ways including slatted panels to conceal storage and doors. At the entrance, a concrete volume sits perpendicularly above a stone block and extends to form a large cantilever. The sharp lines are balanced by the organic forms of the dense vegetation and curated softscape amongst which the house resides. "A stepping stone through a water body leads into the 12-feet high floor-to-ceiling pivoted entrance door. The water body has a glass bottom that allows refracted light to penetrate into the basement below,” continues the Indian architect.
There exists a powerful dialogue between the indoor and outdoor environments brought about by collaborating with landscape architect Kunal Maniar, who expertly crafted the exteriors to fit with the home. The result of this fruitful collaboration can be seen from the entrance itself. Echoing the flow and sandwiched between the concrete cantilever and water body is a 'sculptural' tree that adds a sense of dynamism to the visual.
Harking back to a traditional Indian courtyard house design, this modern interpretation sees all public and private spaces look inward into a private court with a lap pool and floor to ceiling pocket doors that seem to just disappear when not in use. “(The) colours of the swimming pool and landscape are brought into the art and furniture pieces to create a strong dialogue between the indoor and outdoor spaces,” Modi explains of the relationship they created between the two.
On the ground floor, overlooking the pool are open-plan living and lounging areas with an open kitchen clad in oak and a locally sourced granite and dining areas neatly tucked into the background. There are a few arresting vignettes here from the colourful mural on the concrete wall to the vibrant art and sculptural light fixture dominating the dining area to the central staircase built structurally with hot-rolled steel and left unfinished on one side and finished with oak on the inner surface. However, it’s the bar design that really commands attention.
"The bar for the home was visualised to be a fun hangout space," explains Modi. "To enhance the mood, we brought in patterned flooring using linear inlays of polished stone. We carried this language over to the bar counter and created concealed bar cabinets using rounded timber slats. The large red speakers and linear lights above the bar counter create an energetic vibe. Colourful furniture pieces from mid-century masters and an art wall curated with some of clients’ works from the past, as well as new work of artists such as Angelo Accardi complete the space," she adds.
On the first floor, a hallway which connects all the bedrooms, is illuminated by diffused light that has been purposefully controlled by crafting a large, sky-lit pergola over the staircase's design. Along with the bedrooms, this floor also houses a prayer room and a family room. “(The bedrooms) are designed to be simplistic, well-lit and ventilated. Seamless details like floor to ceiling glazing and doors complement the sharpness of its built environment. Furniture has been sourced from across India and bed linens and furnishings are made of pure natural fibres, adding a sense of warmth and comfort to the private spaces,” she continues.
The master suite has its own private courtyard that takes centre stage ensuring daylight and visuals of lush greenery from every corner of the suite. The bed, bath and wardrobes look inward and open into the courtyard. The counter in the master bath is a structural beam with no support from the wall behind it, cast on site and then clad in stone with concealed drawers.
"We spent many hours ideating, many a times with the clients with us on the drawing board, and evolving the layout to ensure that the programmatic requirement, services, privacy and space efficiency were immaculately compatible and in sync with each other. We found it most rewarding when the clients said their home felt nicer than any place in the world,” concludes Modi.
Name: SiRENITi HOUSE
Location: Hyderabad, India
Architectural firm: Kanan Modi Associates
Year of completion: 2021
Size of the site: 2400 Square yards
Size of the house: 21,000 Square feet
Landscape design/architect: Kunal Maniar Associates