Excerpt: Home of Blended Pluralities, designed by Ego Design Studio, is a residence in a lush green site flanked by huge mango trees. This need for the dichotomy of spatial constructs was explored as the core content of the house. Home of Blended Pluralities explores spaces of traditional content, entwined with the features of a modern home. Both the spatial constructs interact and explore each other through the gardens associated with the mango trees- which existed before all.
[Text as submitted by architect] Dr.Hareesh and Dr.Anju, well known doctors in Trivandrum, Kerala, came up with the requirements of building their home, in a lush green site flanked by huge mango trees. Dr Hareesh’s exposure to the world through travels required a modern house. The grandparent had memories of the times the old house was built and required experiences of traditional homes. Dr. Anju loved the modern and the traditional and was an avid collector of curios, which required spaces to exhibit them. Her interests in gardens and nature, the grandmother’s attachment to the three mango trees which she had seen grow to the stature they are in right now, the kids and pets made landscape an important part of the house. The parents, grandmother, two kids and their pet, presented with us a challenge to work with different generations and types of users. This need for dichotomy of spatial constructs was explored as the core content of the house.
Home of Blended Pluralities explores spaces of traditional content, entwined with the features of a modern home. Both the spatial constructs interact and explore each other, through the gardens associated with the mango trees- who existed before all. The existing building on site had to be demolished to give way to the new home. The old building was a huge concrete block, flanked by the mango trees. As one moves beyond the building, it gave way to a beautiful local wild landscape on a slope and lush green vegetation beyond the site. The suspense this created was enthralling. The new building was also a product of this intuitive experience we had, The Home of Blended Pluralities is a choreographed movement from the street to the green beyond, with built spaces as encounters to spaces flanked by gardens.
The site sloped down about 20 feet along its length, creating natural drainage lines and an interesting topography along with it. There were huge trees and vegetation, which existed before any of its users. The built was placed such that it touched the site where the demolished building stood so that no tree was cut and no fertile topsoil removed. It moved away from, and made way for, any pre-existing elements; keeping the trees intact, aligning with the slope, choreographing the movement along the site exploring its features- to build something that wasn’t loud enough, but speaks its own language. There exists a disconnect between the generations in terms of their spatial preferences, the elderly liked smaller spaces with a tinge of earthiness and warmth, the next generation aspired for white modern interiors, kids could be introduced to both, and the pets preferred nature and earth, The project is a collection of these spaces interconnected by gardens, landscape, architecture, humans and nature, alternating equilibriums between dichotomies. The central white cube is sandwiched between the earthy sloped roof rain courts that surround it, while the gardens translate the dichotomies between people, spaces and experiences.
The entry was received by an 8 feet exposed brick wall, dipped into the earth forming the guest area, sandwiched between the existing mango trees with a small void, drawing one into the greens beyond through ‘the dark stepped corridor’ with a promise of the greens. The site slopes down almost 20 feet along its longer side; the built is choreographed along the slope amongst the existing canopy. The stepped corridor with its brick screen walls hugging the slope, separates the architecture, landscape and the site, to one journeying through this threshold. This flight of steps takes one down in pursuit of the greens, encountering patios which house the living spaces along the journey. As one journeys through the stepped corridor wrapped by it porous wall, it hides, filters and stages the landscape and the built. Its porous earthen materiality shields the presence of humans from the landscape, freeing nature to be used by its less hesitant occupants (birds, squirrels rodents & insects).
The hugeness of a single mass (of the old house) was reduced; the house had three parts (The guest area/ the common area and the family area) connected by a linear stepped corridor leading to the green backyard through choreographed landscaped gardens. As we move along it we encounter the house as isolated units sandwiched between gardens along the slope. As one reaches the first level along the stepped corridor into a paved patio, one meets the white central cube, pushing the common family space pushed to a side, giving maximum openness to the patio. The cube contains the kids’ bedrooms overlooking the greens on either side from above, and the master bedroom with a private water court looking out into the green backyard. Moving down further, one encounters the family spaces, the kitchen and grandparent space overlooking the greens.
The old rain filled courtyards have been a part of people’s nostalgia. They still long for them, but they fear rains, the dampness, the moisture, and little life forms that come with it- THEY FEAR NATURE. The project converted these memories into images on their glass windows, keeping the image while cutting out the experience. One can watch them unfold from within the comfort of glazed openings; but to be a part of it, one must venture out into the courts.