The SGAA Residence is a home cum homestay, designed by [ar&de] on a farm for graphic designer Sanil who had returned from Bangalore to his hometown in Wayanad with his wife Gigi. As his grown-up sons Anandu & Arjun were not expected to be at home much, their rooms were planned to be let out for homestay guests. However, their dream house was to be built on 1830 sqft. on a tight budget of 27 lakhs.
Sanil had initially drawn a plan for the house and wanted a courtyard within the house from where the puja room would be accessed. As he wanted to gradually retire and spend more time on the farm and on related outdoor activities like rearing birds/ fishes, carpentry, processing the farm produce etc., we proposed for the puja room to be placed outside with a large external courtyard that tied it with the house and allowed for more usable semi-open and outdoor spaces. These spill-out spaces add to the usable space, act as leisure spaces for guests giving the residents some privacy and add value to the house as a homestay. The waterbody to grow fish is integrated into the design of the house. The Puja room and its position is a key features as well. It contributes to the external appearance and is part of the unfolding welcoming entry through the court. It also provides significant space and opportunity to accommodate group religious rituals in the court and for the idols inside to be visible in focus while walking within the house.
The small bedrooms are made to feel slightly exotic (and not that congested) for the guests with their full-length platform beds to view the farm. The tall wall beside the main hall was designed to become a wall gallery to display Sanil’s work as a way of exhibiting and celebrating his career even upon his retirement.
Natural light is drawn into the main hall from both the east and west making it beautifully lit up throughout the day. The large volumes, natural light, long lines of sight and large openings to outside are the main strategies used to create a sense of spaciousness.
There are various environmentally conscious features to the house. The abundance of natural light reduces electricity consumption. Solar panels have been incorporated for the solar heater, placed above the toilet. Interlocked Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks, terracotta roof tiles and flooring tiles, and granite have been used to reduce the environmental impact. Additionally, the use of wood, cement and rebar steel has been reduced by designing inbuilt ferrocement furniture, reusing the existing furniture, providing MS windows, avoiding concrete slabs and avoiding cement plaster where possible, etc.
The main strength of the SGAA is how the residence feels much larger and more spacious for its actual footprint. The house is small and functional yet very presentable which is particularly relevant for their homestay business. The design along with their service has helped their homestay venture become well-rated in a short period.