Akshatha

The idea of a residence at Nilambur was discussed with conventional spaces & finshes was the brief discussed for Akshatha in the very initital stage by Dr.Sarasija & Mr.Renjith. Both inmates of Nilambur Kovilakom, which dominated the culture of the area & architecture of neighbourhood. The initial idea itself was to merge the building with the surroundings & the simplicity of lifestyle led by the clients. The whole idea was creating the ambience of traditional space in the present context. The traditional ambience & usage of the space was re-thought & recreated with present requirements. The traditional spaces & materials were subtituted, subtracted & added. For instance, the notion of using wood & ornamental works was totally avoided considering the availability & cost of wood, skilled labours for traditional ornamentation works were a major constrain. The planning of the layout itself was not feasible with regard to the traditional nalukettu planning, so the elements like courtyard, attic spaces, steel roofing & exposed laterite stones were mixed along with the colour combinations to attain the ambience. The linear site of 12 cents was a major constrain with the requirement to incorporate 2 car parking area exclusively for the owners vehicle. Effectively blocking the frontage with cluttered vehicular zone. The nalukettu planning was also scrapped due to the site condition.Site was blessed with two mango trees in the front yard helped us to mask the view of the porch coming in the front of the house as well creating a canopy to the facade of the house. The canopy of trees also led the entry path between these & creating a pleasant welcome space in the front. The access to the home is designed between these trees creating a straight path towards the entry which ends in the pooja room. So anyone standing from the gate can see the lights from the pooja through a perforated door, designed to the purpose. Two side courtyards were intrduced natural light inside the building. The interiors were given maximum natural ventilation & skylights to ensure usage of passive energy. The tripple height staircase area also helps to suck the heat generated inside to move upwards & the cieling with steel roof & MP tile roofing opens up the possiblity of ventilation through. The top roof is designed to avoid the sealed spaces as well a two layers of tiles reduces the heat gain from the top of the roof, which will not be possible with concrete structure, thus providing a sustainable solution. Visually it creates a traditional ambience to the interiors too. An Attic space is achieved with the sloping roof again acting as a barrier floor for heat intake. Functionally this floor act as a library space, which is treated with clay tile flooring & exposed laterite walls, which marks the identity of a traditional north kerala houses. Windows & doors are made with nilambur teak which has a good workability as well appearance. Both the qualities are well utilised & usage of wooden planks in windows reveals the richness of spaces at the same time gives the traditional feel. The ornamentation part is completely avoided here too, but simple groove treatments substitutes the ornamentation, which forms a completely contemporary vocabulary for creating a rich spatial quality. The wooden planks also designed to create different type of lighting quality inside the home, instead of plain light. Simplicity of spaces created creates a feeling of luxury of spaces without a break. The feel of space is kept unobstructed with the usage of light & minimal furnitures, double & triple high spaces. No extra works has been gone into the interiors, which is true depiction of structure itself. The treatment of flooring with dark colours & white coloured walls depicts the simplicity of space with the wooden elements is followed throughout the house. Even the usage of loose furnitures are kept to minimum so as to get maximum spatial quality. Akshatha is an effort to depict the essence of traditional qualities with simple visual & spatial elements, careful additions & subtractions for the form as well as planning giving priority to natural lighting, ventilation & reduction of heat load with simple techniques