The Vaulted House  / Vrushaket Pawar + Architects (VP+A)

The Vaulted House / Vrushaket Pawar + Architects (VP+A)

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Text description provided by the architects. The vaulted house is designed for an artist. Design of the house is based on 2 factors; site context and client’s background. The original structure was a humble 2 BHK GF residence, built 20+ years ago on the outskirts of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad). Client wanted to expand the house without demolishing the existing structure and Site falls under Hot and Dry climate zone in a relatively densely populated area.

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The requirement of the 4 BHK is spread across the three floors (GF, FF & SF), where the Living, kitchen, Dining, Master Bed, and Guest bed are located on the ground floor. The sons’ bedrooms are located on the first floor, and The Den for the client himself is placed on the second floor.  The Dining is strategically planned at the center of the house by puncturing the old slab, creating a 3-floor high stepped courtyard, bringing in the sunlight at the center of the house throughout the year. This also helped create a strong upward wind draft, removing the hot air from the Kitchen, Dining, and Master bed, especially in summer. In winter, one can enjoy sunlight in the center of the ground floor without being exposed to chilly winds.

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The staircase is designed in 3 different parts on different levels because of the old stairs, which are placed in the NE corner of the building. This spatial planning approach towards the stairs transcended into a multi-level terraced design across three floors. This created an outdoor space for each room with its own unique identity. The first floor’s exposed concrete cantilevered slab on the main stairs is a low-height space enveloped by prefabricated perforated panels on the roadside and an exposed brick wall on the terrace side, creating a perfect balance between privacy and openness, allowing occupants to enjoy the view of large tree canopy in front of the house at the same time obscuring the view inside the house, from the road.  

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One bedroom is located on the NW corner, facing a large tree and an apartment across the road. It is designed with a high, vaulted ceiling not only to reduce heat gain in the summer but also to bring in winter sun in the room from the south. This also helps to maintain the privacy of the room as vaults are cantilevered on the Northern side only.  The Bedroom placed on the SW corner has fewer openings due to the hot, dry climate, but The toilets of both bedrooms are designed with a skylight to maximize the light ventilation, also creating space for planters, adding interest to otherwise daily mundane tasks. The second staircase is located around the central courtyard, which is built as a load-bearing structure with simple materials like kota stone and first-quality brick, etc. It overlooks the dining below while connecting to the Artist’s “Den.”

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The Den is a special room where the client spends his time doing creative work like painting, thinking, and feeding fish! The room has glass on three sides and a lotus pond overhanging the courtyard. The space is again enveloped by a free-standing brick jaali wall, providing privacy and light ventilation. The room also has a partly high ceiling with one vault for the very same reason for passive cooling.  The den is placed in such a way that it has access to 2 different terraces with completely different views, from hills in the distance to large tree canopies with landscapes around, respectively.  This room also has an indoor standing balcony overlooking the dining below, creating a visual and vocal connection between multiple levels.

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The material pallet is kept to a minimal with very humble materials like kota stone slabs, Tile, exposed brick and concrete work, resembling clients humble beginnings. The wood used in the project was sourced locally which was reclaimed from a very old wada. The stepped terraces, stairs, large vaults and materials in a way unfold the artist’s life. Resilient, fluid yet firm like his spirit.

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