Spread over a plot of nine and a half acres, the Sona Housing Scheme has been planned with the mission to provide housing to the 600 families that belong to the employees of the IT center of Bangalore. Built within the tree line, the development offers its residents a connection with nature, while creating uncompromised open spaces. Located in a residential area very close to two major IT hubs in Bangalore, Bannerghatta Road, and Electronic city, the neighborhood is mostly occupied by residences and low-rise apartments. To optimize the FSI available, while providing homes that are Affordable (with a construction cost of Rs.1800 / sq. ft. or less), Compact & Efficient, Comfortable, Intimate and one with nature, the horizontal development has been designed to promote a sense of community, belonging and identity amongst its residents. Reinforcing the human desire to be close to nature and connect with the community, the development steers away from the typical high-rise forms of today and leans towards creating natural living spaces that facilitate natural lighting, ventilation, and community living.
Working for a client who the firm has been associated with for over 30 years, the project was developed together as complete stakeholders and design partners to create a vision for the brand. Envisaging the project mapping along with the sales and marketing team for Brand Building and sales while organizing a team structure, the project was optimized as an opportunity to communicate the group's core values, thoughts, and aspirations. The aim was to bring together all expertise to craft an aesthetically beautiful, financially viable, and successful Residential Project.
Conceptualized as a low-rise residential apartment complex in line with the neighboring context that retains the charm of Bangalore's garden city, the development is envisioned as a ground + four-storeyed structure, that houses a mix of 1 BHK, 2-BHK, and 3BHK apartments. The vast 9-acre plot, which had been a barren land for long, was filled with debris and mud all over with a 4m slope difference from one end to the other. The level difference has been optimized for phases in planning and designed to create engaging, interwoven level differences that are rendered with colorful trees, plants, shrubs, creating a lush green ambiance. The 15m height restriction was optimized to create parking in the basement, which facilitated the creation of a vehicle-free township and the creation of a peripheral road along the external edge of the site to increase the green cover. The design has been developed using the IMK 80 – 20 principle to derive the core focus points, i.e., Build a Home that is affordable, compact, efficient, comfortable, private, and one that is intimate with nature. The project should promote a sense of community, belonging and identity amongst residents, consume Maximum FSI, and should articulate intimate Courtyards between the building clusters and public squares, within a block, to encourage interaction, activity, and play, to design spaces to cater to all age groups.
Building within the Tree-line, the masterplan lays out a mosaic of apartment towers, tree-lined boulevards, and large, intimate landscaped zones, all hinged together through a central communal garden. Focused on the creation of green space rather than creating green covers around the built form, a central green cover that spreads centrally throughout the plot was envisaged, adorned by buildings at the sides. It is this central garden that traverses the site from the far end to the central lawn and the clubhouse that rises from the ground. A series of intimate courtyards at varied scales have been articulated within the building clusters, maneuvering to create public squares within a block to encourage interaction, activity, and play. Spaces that cater to all ages have been crafted- quiet and cozy courts for senior citizens, gaming courts for young adults and families, expansive lawns and outdoor games for children, and sand pits and small play areas for toddlers, etc. Utilizing the natural terrain while seamlessly blending levels to create flowing green spaces, these adjoining green courts promote a sense of community, belonging, and identity amongst residents. To amplify the feeling of security, a pedestrian-friendly environment is created on the ground to ensure a safe, and thereby happy neighborhood.
The Residential blocks are designed to cater to the required area brief and maximize the central garden area, which becomes the lung space for the community. The units overlooking the gardens are louvered to endow the residents with filters of light, air, and privacy. The apartments are designed with compact lobbies and comfortable habitable spaces. Dining and living spaces are planned to capitalize on natural light and views with sufficient daylight and ventilation. Most apartments can be combined to create flexible spaces and thereby accommodate bigger families. The large windows in every home allow plenty of natural light to stream in. The kitchen has been designed and positioned to allow ample natural light. The sunlight also penetrates and brightens internal utility areas. By optimizing the lobby space, each home has been designed with a vestibule that provides privacy to every occupant. The vestibule in the bedrooms ensures your privacy, even when visitors come over. Each home has at least two/ three outdoor views enhancing the benefits of cross ventilation while ensuring views to the greenery outside. All apartments have spacious balconies that overlook the building's internal courtyard, and the services are hidden in the service shafts allowing for clean facade design.
The external louvers add a dynamic accent, with the garden manifesting itself as the focal edge of the community, opening up into the central clubhouse. Sited at the center of the site is the clubhouse, enveloped by the surrounding landscape and merges seamlessly with the central garden. The Earth berm reaches the roof of the clubhouse with gazebos to overlook the community while opening towards the northern side with a pool at the edge and a garden to overlook. Tucked beneath the green roofs of the central garden earth berm, Club Patio provides amenities, recreation facilities, and common spaces interspersed with planters and skylights. A pathway through the project with gardens and dotted with greens for a pleasant stroll. Facilities include indoor games, a swimming pool, a cafe, and varied indoor and outdoor locations for social gatherings. All the social community spaces are designed to be in the lower area to facilitate the opening up and spilling over of the open spaces into the community spaces. The health activities of the club are planned on the first floor, overlooking the community space, pool, and the garden at the lower level.
With a simplistic material and aesthetic palette that blends in with the central landscape, material textures such as Brick and Aluminum louvers have been used to enhance the design language. Designed as a low-rise development, the use of concrete has been dramatically reduced and hence minimizes the carbon footprint. All the toilets have been planned with proper segregation of dry and wet areas, and easy- to maintain efficient fixtures are used to reduced water wastage. All light fixtures used are LED's for better energy conservation, while the AC condenser units are also located to enable easy servicing and integration with the façade.
Even without a formal GRIHA or LEEDS rating, the development adopts various passive and green building design strategies that promote the use of renewable energy, while utilizing and optimizing other resources. The residential units have been designed to achieve Maximum Natural Daylight and cross ventilation. The development uses sustainable systems such as rainwater harvesting, a Sewage treatment plant, the use of treated water for landscape, solar system for geysers, and common area lighting- all to imbibe a passive design approach that reduces the load on artificial resources both in terms of cost and energy.