A joint family is an extended family arrangement prevalent throughout India, consisting of many generations living in the same household. housTOGETHER, designed by Plan Loci, is an endeavour to design a home for a set of parents with their two married sons and their children. The family works together and stays together. The site in this context is a residential plot in the yesteryears Refugees colony of Delhi, now an upmarket address.
The plot opens up towards the front where we have the main access road. A narrow service lane towards the rear provides another source of light and ventilation while adjoining houses block the other two sides. The design brief explores the nuances of joint families living under one roof while balancing the restrictions imposed by the urban bye of laws of the high-density city of Delhi. Design intentions focus on providing each family within the larger group, a sense of privacy and individuality while maintaining a sense of oneness, and togetherness.
The face of the building exhibits the value system of a joint family where the smaller frame snugly sits inside the larger frame. A smaller frame reaches out and is progressive in form while the larger one stands on stable ground. Taking a cue from a traditional Indian courthouse, functions are arranged around a central sky-lit open space which is used as a dining area, an activity which the whole family does together every day. Individually, the families are distributed horizontally.
A network of circulation comprising corridors, bridges, stairs and a glass lift in the central space allows vertical interaction. The central space is accentuated with textured granite walls next to the staircase and crystal lights hanging from the top ceiling providing connected lighting across all floors. Transparent connections are created from the Centre of the house. The home opens towards the front of the plot. Family lounge forms intermediate lively spaces between the internal court and extended semi-covered balconies with plants and seating.
The house towards the main access road has an undesirable view of shops. Northwest opens up towards a perpendicular road and a lovely park. The house design acknowledges this context. It is planned to be opaque in the direction of the shops and transparent and interactive towards the direction of the park with the help of corner windows and balconies on all levels. The house steps inwards to provide privacy.
As this is a north-facing plot, large windows are provided towards the park to connect with the outdoors and bring in the natural light while avoiding heat gain. Delhi bye-laws mandate the use of the ground for only parking and thus is designed to cater to the parking of cars for the whole family. Dynamic black and white stone steps invite one to directly approach the living spaces starting on the first floor. These steps are carved from a tall curved form retreating deep. A temple room is approached from the balcony on the first floor to receive the rays of the rising sun.
As the ground is taken away to park cars, a terrace garden is designed on the top along with recreation and wellness spaces. Plenty of sunlight creates a green haven on the top for all the family members to come together and enjoy. The architectural finishes compose of non-colours and punched patterns to create light and shadow play. While textured stone walls along with wood finishes add vibrancy and warmth to the house. The family is in the business connected to great Indian weddings and loves a drizzle of glitz and drama accentuated with facade lighting.
Project Name: housTOGETHER
Office Name: Plan Loci
Completion Year: 2022
Gross Built Area (sq. ft): 10000
Project Location: New Delhi
Program/ Use/Building Function: Residential
Lead Architects: Vikas Gandhi, Gauri S Gandhi, Sayesha Khanna
Photo Credits: Cinelove