Project: The Orange Extension
Project Type: Architectural/Residential Addition
Date of Completion: May 2014
Contractor: Om Mistry
Metal Works: Rich Steel
Corten Steel: Champak Steel
Structural Consultant: Girish T Wadhwa
Lighting: Cerco Lights
Photo Credits: Sebastian Zachariah/ Photographix
As evident in its name, the executed project is functionally an extension, to a family home located in Bandra, Mumbai. The aforementioned family home dates sixty years back, and suggestively denotes a tinge of old world charm and heritage. The total area of 1500 square meters spreads over a space of four floors. The client, who has a penchant for luxury cars, and is an avid collector of the same, thereby requested twin extensions to his existing home, which would be in the form of canopies, in order to act as an ideal protection for his prized possessions from any external polluting or otherwise harmful agents. The client also required modernization to the entirety of the house in the form of contemporary facilities which would include an exterior elevator core.
Since the interventions were to be made to an existing home, immense care to be appropriate regarding them was of utmost importance, for instance, the sculpted objects in the round, where each surface demanded meticulous attention to detail. This is primarily due to the fact that the orientation and planning of the house is such that every face, including the under belly, becomes visually accessible to visitors while at the entrance.
As the project was an extension, it was determined that the proposal adhere to the existing geometry of the site, using it as an indicator for the planning of the extension. Therefore, using these indicators, a separate geometry that would lead to the materialisation of a form which would fit snugly within the existing context was generated. It is found that these guidelines marked in the site, acting as indicators have been expressed in the execution, in the form of grooves. These grooves have varying width with regard to their dimension. Due to this, the importance of certain contextual placements over others is highlighted. For instance, there are major grooves. These have lights embedded within them and due to this the importance of primary contextual connections is highlighted. Also, not only does this resulting network of grooves serve an aesthetic purpose, but serve as an ideal medium for channeling of rainwater into a collection plate and from thereon the water is discharged with due care into an adjoining flower bed. This example reflects holistic planning, where aesthetics and functionality meet in an able confluence, implying an idyllic sense of designing.
The tendency to pay immense attention to detail is not an isolated instant in the blatantly visual areas, as the underbelly was also subjected to the same. Here too the site alignments in their existing situation played an essential role in the design proposal, including geometry, material differentiation and lighting placement. Highlighting an example of the same, it is to be mentioned that the axis which leads to the home has been accentuated with the delicate implementation of lowering of the ceiling. The collection plate for rainwater has been treated with a different texture as compared to the rest of the underbelly of the canopy. This has been so done by employing the materiality of the top onto the lower surface in this case, thereby subtly revealing the alternate purpose.
As observed in the design for the canopies, the geometry of the proposed external elevator core, a modernised intervention for the existing home, also emerged from the adjoining contextual guidelines, implying wholesomeness and a subtle uniformity that exudes in the design of three completely different entities. It is evident that the structure, the lines of the joints and the grooves, an essential aspect of the proposal all tend towards finding form and functionality from the basic ideal of the context of the existing façade.
The material as well as textures to be employed for the project gained an immense importance, as despite them being interventions and those too of a relatively stark contemporary nature, they needed to exude a sense of belonging, and to seem as though an uninterrupted continuation of the existing palette which prevailed within the design of the home, prior to any additions. In this case, the house comprises of white plastered surfaces, treated random rubble basalt stone walls, ipe wood and glass as the primary materials. Therefore, the intervention too incorporated a palette of the same materials to signify a seamless transition into the old. Also, the rustic yet poetic material
value of weathering steel was utilized, as its unique characteristic is that the need for painting it is eliminated and once exposed to the external weather conditions, it forms a stable appearance which resembles the shade and texture of rust, thereby giving rise to the nomenclature of the project- The Orange Extension.
The design team has, with resourcefulness and creativity, executed the project, which required sensitivity in terms of ideal design practices as well as towards the minute attention required to be paid to an extension and intervention project.
The design proposed has proved itself to be climate sensitive, regarding collection of rainwater onto steel plates and subsequent deposition into flower beds. Also, the material used requires no additional finish such as painting, and maintains an aesthetically pleasant appearance with its rust like looks post exposure to weathering.
The basic purpose of the canopies was served, which was to act as a shroud for the collection of luxury cars the client enjoys collecting, along with making the modernized interventions integrated with the existing sixty year old fabric.