The House with a Brick Veil is a residence built within a chaotic neighbourhood in Jangpura, Central Delhi. Built for a retired couple wanting a calm space for themselves and two smaller flats for their married children and families, the challenge arose in creating the required oasis in the current context by extracting the preferred serene ambience of their previous spacious dwelling.
Apart from the surroundings offering a dearth of views except a few trees and residential rear façades, the site constraints had to account for the traffic noise build up given its envelope of major and secondary roads. The dilemma came from the fact that the best light for the plot also provided the worst views, which implied keeping living spaces away from the south east face, yet getting in the south winter sun from the same.
Studio Lotus rendered the design as a clear translation from intent to concept for the conservative clients: developing a contemporary progression that centred on the possibility of openness without compromising on privacy. The project hence became an important exercise in addressing the relevance of this issue seen in the prevalent density of city neighbourhoods.
The building was conceived as a brick masonry structure with a high thermal mass maximizing daylight and minimizing solar gain. Initiated with sections configuring potential views for the house, the layout utilizes the maximum permissible built up area - with the top two floors combined as a duplex and the lower two floors as independent units.
The plan pushes the building backwards into the site to extract courtyards and wraps a skin around itself as a buffer between the home and the city. This 345-mm thick brick wall cloaks the house as a veil; floating away from it at times to comprise intimate spaces for light and ventilation while filtering the neighbourhood. The geometry of openings in the outer skin follow a geometry independent of the fenestration of each floor thereby allowing a hit-and-miss line of sight through them - juggling privacy and views.
A responsive manifestation of its milieu and requirements, the design coursed many explorations; ultimately splitting its open volume in two with a central core of living spaces. A fluid structuring of spaces around it expands the compact house with rooms expanding flexibly and seamlessly. Small terraces are pulled into the house, flowing out from either side of the central living spaces into the twin courts to serve as small gardens. Dense plantation on the multiple terraces adds a soft layer of screening in the constructed volume opened out to three of its four sides. The creation of these green multiple stories above the ground creates a floating landscape and helps in shading and improves the views from within and without. It makes the house breathe and grants it the porosity to select elements of its surroundings.