Arch House, A Classical Style Inspired Villa Design by Chaukor Studio
Arches are one of the core fundamental elements of Architecture. Before the advent of steel and reinforced concrete (materials that can withstand tension), Arches were the only way for spanning between two walls and creating openings. From simple doorways used to connect rooms to elaborate arcades made for defining public squares, an arch was the elementary building element of Architecture. With the invention of newer construction materials, arches are no more a necessity of construction. Rather an Arch has now become a much more powerful symbol that connects the modern times with the vast heritage of the architectural design. Arch house is a culmination and a celebration of this architectural symbol that depicts its use in various manners and built forms. It transforms a Classical Symbol into a Contemporary Form
Creating designs that embrace details and technology belonging to the Historical era (Classical era) require a deep and comprehensive understanding of Architectural design and Interior Design that was practiced at that period. Such designs have evolved over centuries and encapsulate innumerous aspects in their form and creation. This understanding and subtlety of design can only be achieved through years of design experimentation, study of heritage and history, coupled with real time construction experiences. Chaukor studio from the time of its inception has been extensively involved in the creation of many such distinctive houses that capture the fundamentals of heritage and embody the essence of the classical era.
Arches from times immemorial have been used in buildings to create door-window openings, entrance door ways, arcaded passages and many more. Not only have they been employed in buildings but arches were a fundamental structural element as well and so were used to span bridges, aqueducts (man-made water canals during roman era) and create supports for tall structures. Since it had a very simple function to transfer the vertical load (forces) to horizontal and shift it from its location; this allowed to create openings underneath and thus became fundamental. In historic times, large stone slabs were used to create openings and passageways but they had their limitations of size thus they were rendered useless when used in larger structures. To overcome this limitation, Arches were used and thus became a fundamental element of architecture, structure and design.
Arch house is a residential project located in Greater Noida. The project serves as a culmination and a celebration of “ARCH” as an architectural element and transforms this symbol into a built form. Arch is used not only as a functional element (in the project) but as a representational element that showcases its significance in the architectural heritage. Arch as an element has been used to give shape to the structural components of the house, its overall built volume and also to mark the important entrances. The element is also used inside the house and gives character to its interior spaces. Arch as a design element echoes again and again in the residence in various forms, shapes and sizes. Different materials are also employed to provide distinct characteristics to the Arched elements. The overall design language of the house is composed of many elements and Arch being the most prominent one.
The house is located on a corner plot and faces a green belt on its londer side. This in turn enables the building to be open from three sides and maximizes intake of natural light in all the interior spaces. Natural daylight and greens are the two fundamental characteristics that are required to make a building complete when designed on the lines of classical era. The house is planned on two floors with public areas located at the ground level while all the private bedrooms are placed on the first floor. Each bedroom spills out into a private terrace overlooking the green landscape. The balconies too are shaped in arched formats while terraces are covered with arched vaults. Experience of each space is made unique through a distinctive use of the same element.
Natural light and greens are given lot of significance in the overall experience of the space. Large windows fenestrations provide ample daylight into the interior spaces thus making the spaces grand and experiential. To further accentuate the essence of palatial grandeur, the ceilings are kept high and decorated with minimal detailing to create large volumes of space filled with natural daylight. The exterior and interior materials finishes are kept minimal and monochromatic thus shifting focus of the viewer to the overall experience and not to a particular space or feature.
With a large volume and building mass similar to that of a palace, the house embodies grandeur in its purest form. To further add to it, the internal ceiling heights are also kept higher than conventional with minimal false ceilings and decoration. As the interiors are primarily kept monochromatic and white, the essence of openness and natural light becomes phenomenal. Higher ceiling heights make the interiors spacious and open that create an environment of immense peace and calmness. Since the core planning and fundamental design of the building embodies essence of classical design, the need to add claddings and additional design features vanishes. The interior design of the space only becomes a continuation of the architectural design. The material finishes become extensions of the natural daylight that floods the interior space.
Since the residence was meant for a family of three only, it allowed for greater flexibility in terms of space requirements. The idea was to create a house that gives out a feeling of uniqueness and grandeur. The building elevation and the overall volume was the most interesting feature of the house. It is composed of innumerous elements distinct in shape, size and their orientation. The larger challenge was to hold together a composition while having so many distinctive elements in the facade. This was made possible by using the Arch (semi-circle) as a conjoining element that gave a sense of uniformity and composition to the overall structure. Arch was further broken down to its most obvious geometric form, a semi-circle which was then repeated innumerous times to give coherent complexity. By creating too many elements that have individual character, too much chaos can be created but with a simple form, a larger unity and uniformity can be achieved. This is what was acheived in the design of this house- through an Arch!
Window fenestrations play a very critical role in such designs as they are responsible for not only bringing in natural light but to also add a delicate interface to the monolithic classical structure. Opening sizes of the windows are designed in proportion to the building structure. Some window openings are kept exceptionally large while some are designed to create punctures into the monolithic mass. Similar to the interplay of the building volume, windows too are designed and placed in cross-combinations to each other across the complete building facade. Larger windows are placed at very critical places to divert maximum attention to that part of the buidling while smaller linear windows are used to guide the eye around and across the building elevation.
Only places where focus of the viewer has to be diverted employ the use of distinctive materials or color palletes. The building elevation for example uses wood cladding to define the volumes attached to the larger monolith and give a distinctive character to the volume. In the similar essence, a different tonality of color is used in areas that are either embossed or recessed to make the element more apparent in the building facade. Wood and metal are two additional materials that are used with this style to create borders, frames and highlight specific details. Metal being a very sleek element creates an interesting contrast between itself and the monolithic built masses. Railings, Trellises and Grills are used as design elements that are crafted from wood and metal.
Classical style in architecture has a very wide chronological timeline and cannot be defined as a specific period in history. Across centuries it has evolved many a times, has taken varied forms and has shaped itself into a universal form. Arches too are one of the core fundamental elements of Architecture that have evloved and taken many shapes throughout history. With the invention of newer construction materials, arches are no more a necessity of construction. Rather an Arch has now become a much more powerful symbol that connects the modern times with the vast heritage of the architectural design. Arch house is a culmination and a celebration of this architectural symbol that depicts its use in various manners and built forms. It transforms a Classical Symbol into a Contemporary Form.
Chaukor studio is an award winning and a leading architecture and interior design firm in Noida.
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