The Tall House by Ar. Sunil Patil: The ideal con flux of the architect’s instinct and the clients invocation

Architecture Interior
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Project credits:
Project name: The Tall House
Architect : Ar. Sunil Patil
Location: Baner, Pune

Built with the intent of serving as an ideal home for the client, a businessman, and his family of six, constituting of his wife, two grown-up children and his parents, the bungalow is situated in a residential colony located in Baner, Pune. In the present day context, a typical scenario is where the client holds high expectations regarding the largesse of the bungalow but the plot size itself is not as enormous. Particularly in metropolitan cities, it is observed that bullish trends in the cost of land have resulted the once traditionally horizontal bungalows to grow vertically, as a response to the stimulus of smaller land sizes. Therefore, the architect was presented a challenge wherein the spaces had to be planned in a vertical dimension, which had to comprise of a basement, as required as well as three levels with ensured forms of interaction at these levels. Hence, the residence has been aptly named ‘Tall House’.

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While one might ponder over the impact of the verticality of the structure, especially when in context with the surroundings, it is evident that the simple massing and the geometric composition as well as the prodema exterior veneer cladding over the façade gives the thirty five feet tall structure a singularly arresting appearance. In fact it is at the very entrance, which contains grey granite steps, that one can comprehend the elegance of the design. Another gate situated at the entrance leads to the basement, which is designed to accommodate parking for two four wheelers, indicating that the design suffices the requirements posed to the clients.

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The architect met with the expectations of the client, and a critical feature of the residence became the triple height courtyard and family lounge, situated at the ground floor level. Alongside, the parents’ bedroom, the kitchen as well as dining was planned at the same level, indicating that almost the entirety of the ground floor acts as the ideal family space. Two of the other bedrooms, namely the master bedroom and the daughter’s bedroom were planned at the first floor level. The second floor constituted the intent of providing leisurely spaces for the family by providing a swimming pool and a gym as well as a home theatre room. Lastly, the bedroom of the son has been provided at the third floor level.3

While the Tall House exudes an aura of strong design sense coupled with an archetypal style regarding the exteriors, the true magnificence is further elaborated upon when one enters inside and the triple height courtyard is revealed, also serving as an ideal means of segregation between the living room as well as the formal and informal family lounge. The visual dynamics of the space are enhanced upon with the stretching of the family lounge till the walk out, where one discovers a water cascade of immense beauty, bringing in the elements of light and nature and a sense of openness, hence showing how the landscape in and around the residence has been designed in resonance to the built mass and the exterior surroundings.

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The formal living space casts a spell on the viewer with a convergence of the varying styles of vernacular and contemporary architecture, where one wall is built of black stone masonry and another is designed with circular shaped punctures, fitted with fixed glass, which is perfectly complemented by a glass chandelier at the ceiling. The circular shaped punctures act as an ideal means of bringing in different qualities of light at different times of the day, creating a dynamic mural within the room. Design meets functionality, as the pneumatic elevator placed in the courtyard acts a means of gaining access to all levels when the staircase is not the desired option.

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The ideal family residence is one wherein all family spaces are treated with utmost relevance and sincerity. Ar. Sunil Patil has met these expectations, as is insinuated by the design of the open kitchen, adjacent to the dining area, which in itself is neighbor to the family lounge. The idea of clean and crisp kitchen maintained, it has been designed with functionality in mind, including the application of gadgets and gizmos belonging to advanced technology. The store and utility are carefully concealed behind cabinets and a sense of openness is brought forth by keeping a minimum number of walls and the open courtyard has been further enhanced by channelizing the flow of air around these spaces. Further, the dining area leads one to a walkout wherein a vertical garden has been created, keeping in sync with the idea of verticality in a bungalow. The walk out also has a path for the servants to enter the basement
wherein allotted space for office has been designed. Considering the religious sentiment of the family, the pooja room has been planned adjacent to the dining area, and portrays a simplistic and elegant design with the implementation of white marble and frosted glass reflecting spirituality and sanctity.

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Keeping in accordance with the design with the design trend applied, exploration of the first floor reveals a balance between grace and warmth in the confines of both the bedrooms, where the application of wooden flooring creates the aura of exuding warmth and homeliness. The master bedroom has the additional feature of opening out to a huge terrace. The interior design of the bedrooms is such that the walk-in closets in the dressing areas are attached with the bathrooms so as to add the quality of spaciousness for bedrooms which seem clean and free from clutter. The daughter’s bedroom has been further embellished for open shelves, study units and ledges for seating along the
window.

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The position of the staircase is such that it is between the two rooms, and leads to the third floor, where the design has situated the home theatre and the multipurpose hall significantly to fuse it with the swimming pool deck whenever desired. The swimming pool has been designed as an opposite current system, at the second floor. The space around has been designed with flexibility in mind, to ensure conversion of these spaces into varying alternatives, such as a social partying scenario or a quiet space where the family or the individuals can enjoy home theatre in a relaxed stance.

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The bedroom of the son has been designed to echo traits of his personality. Located at the other side of the stairs on the second floor, there is a small courtyard between the bathroom and bedroom, and his tendency to enjoy leisurely baths can be witnessed in the implication of higher technology products employed in the bathroom. The décor of the bedroom exudes a feeling of comfort, with its white based interiors and plushy bed. Images of Rolls Royce behind the bed are testimony to his interest in cars and add to the ambience, along with the play of shapes employed at his study table.

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The exploration of Tall House in its entirety depicts a design, which rises to the challenges met and results in a series of spaces, which exude balance in all forms, such as the balance between décor and functionality, the balance between the built and the open, the balance between the vernacular and the contemporary, and finally, as the architect himself says, the right balance between a client’s wishes, and the architects’ design instincts.13

With an established practice, years of work experience, immensely impressive work attributed to his name and a number of accolades and achievements, Ar. Sunil Patil has displayed a great sense of design and versatility in a grand total of 325 projects across India. Each project has been treated with utmost sincerity, be it an individualistic residential project, such as Tall House, or be it projects based on public utility and institutional as well as industrial and commercial complexes.

– Devashree Vyas ,Volume Zero.
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