Project Name: Maison Kochi
Practice: Meister Varma Architects
Firm Location: Cochin
Completion year: 2018
Gross Built up Area: 1700 sft
Project Location: Cochin, Kerala, India
Lead Architects: Krishnan Varma
Design Team: Krishnan Varma, Vanessa Meister, Sruthi Vijay, Sonia Stephen, Saumya Joseph
Structural Consultants: Rao & Associates
Photo Credits: Praveen Mohandas, Govind Nair
(Text as submitted by the Architect)
Built on a tight 170 sqm plot for a family of four Maison Kochi also functions as studio and office in the South Indian city of Kochi. The west facing building is delineated in 2 volumes, the taller south-west block shading the shorter north-east one throughout the day. Living spaces are arranged in the shorter block while staircases and toilets face south or west to buffer the heat. An open plan arrangement and perforated net windows ensure ventilation across rooms. A vent in the roof access hatch cools the house with its chimney effect.
Rainwater channels are integrated in the roof design as are solar panels. Collected water is used to recharge the groundwater through an injection system. Flat roofs are insulated with hollow clay blocks and sloping roofs with polyurethane sandwich panels.
The building is conceived as a chiaroscuro – a white solid exterior leading to cool interiors finished in polished cement. An open plan arrangement on both floors makes the interior spaces blend into each other seamlessly. Wall to ceiling windows enhance this flow as does the continuous black oxide floor. Windows are designed in steel and doors use bison board panelling. Bathrooms are finished in colourful ferrous oxide with lamps and counters cast in place.
Almost all interior objects and furnishings are custom-made down to the brass switch plates. Furnishings like cushion covers and curtains utilise the minimalist lines of Kerala saris and soften the cement walls. Traditional urban crafts like cane cycle boxes are inspiration for multi-coloured baskets that hold everything from blankets to diapers.