Excerpt: The Portal house, designed by the architectural firm Reasoning Instincts Architecture Studio is composed of the notions of the swastika. The Portal House is conceived with the idea of creating multiple overlaps of personal and public domains catering to the idea of solitude as well as gathering. The center holds ‘the house’ which is the heart of the residence and the four radiating arms orient the bedrooms or ‘cabanas’. The spaces in between this massing organization are the transitional spaces which define the essence of the overall experience by blurring boundaries between inside and outside.
[Text as submitted by Architect] The Portal House is conceived with the idea of creating multiple overlaps of personal and public domains catering to the idea of solitude as well as gathering. The residence is composed on the notions of “swastika”. The center holds ‘the house’ which is the heart of the residence and the four radiating arms orient the bedrooms or ‘cabanas’. The spaces in between this massing organization are the transitional spaces which define the essence of the overall experience by blurring boundaries between inside and outside. These spaces have been articulated uniquely as decked spaces, open dry courtyards, covered canopies, reflective pools, connecting pathways etc.
The access to the residence is celebrated through a six meter wide pedestrian ramp restricting the vehicular movement into the site. This ramp elicits the sense of distinctiveness and tranquility. The slow approach delays the sense of arrival and serves as a transitional zone between the hustle bustle of urban life and the calmness in solitude. Strategically aligned pigmented concrete landscape walls dictate the movement pattern within the residence in congruence with the position of the existing trees.
The ‘house’ and the ‘cabanas’ are the main components of the design. Each of these built components is wrapped with a distinct corten steel portal so that their fragmented spaces get artistically composed as one entity. The portals not only bind the elements of the ‘house’ and the ‘cabanas’ but also act as a common expression throughout the site. They mark the position of these components in the scheme of the “swastika”. The filtration of light from the high canopies of the trees inspired the design of the perforation pattern of the corten steel panels. This helped achieve a contrasting expression of crisp metal surfaces with organic and soft canopies.
Taking forward the concept of the ‘served and the servant spaces’ each built component is split into two volumes, where in the services are housed in lower volumes and the livable and functional spaces are contained in higher volume.
‘The house’ edifices public spaces such as living, dining and recreational areas. With the intent to extend the living areas into transitional spaces, there is no formal entry. Instead large openable surfaces in clear glass across the sixteen meter long north facade encourages uninterrupted visual and physical flow between the inside and outside spaces. The presence of a rock face Jaisalmer wall across the open courtyard within ‘the house’ directs the connectivity of these transparent spaces.
The ‘cabanas’ are designed to be studio bedrooms organized as an open plan for living, studying and sleeping spaces. The unconventional higher ceiling height of the studio space provides a connection with tree canopies at all times. The presence of the landscape pigmented concrete walls dominates the collage of these materials to create dark and intimate private bath space in a rather more open studio lifestyle.
On the whole the residence is a demonstration of grandeur of space built with humble materials. The transitional spaces connecting the components of the residence value add to the livability of the design. The raw and rustic natures of finishes respond to the nature of the site thus providing its occupants desired open and free lifestyle.