House of Duality

A home is more than a shelter or a refuge. It’s a vessel that carries not just our day to day activities but also archives memories of the life lived within. And modern India is aspiring to redefine living albeit within the confines of their socio- cultural background. This residence was conceptualized for one such family who wanted three generations living under one roof and yet have their own privacy and their own space.

However, the entitlement for the privacy were not to compromise the bonding between the family members, hence the private spaces were to be more cohesive and connected. However, culturally, there had to be a very strong segregation between the private and the public spaces. The house in that sense is riddled with duality.

Programmatically, the spatial planning has been largely influenced by four major factors:

1. Local version of Vaastu predominant in the Muslim household in this part of Calicut, which calls for a strong N-S alignment of the house and the kitchen being in the N-W corner of the house. 

2. Hot and Humid Climate of Kerala with heavy rain called for a strategy that would allow good circulation of SW breeze and yet the interior spaces needed to be shielded from the heavy rain.

3. Cultural significance of separate men and women areas in the house.

4. A strong aspiration of the family to build a large and spacious house that sits in harmony with nature. 

As architects, it was critical for us to design this house that is true to the cultural background of the family living here with a contemporary undertone. We intended to infuse the soul of traditional Kerala homestead called “Nallukettu” or “Tharavadu” (ancestral home) in a relatively modern expression. 

The 1.2-acre site is nestled between the coconut groves of Kozhikode, Kerala. The western and southern side of the site is straddled by a curving road along the South and western edge. The entry to the site is from the south. A long and linear veranda, very common in Nallukettu forms the main entry to the house. Formal guests were to be either hosted in the veranda or the formal living space beside it and the owner had a home office accessible from the veranda. A long stone wall running longitudinally along the site preserves the privacy of the bedrooms from the entrance area. 

The spatial planning brought a very clear segregation between the men’s area and the women’s area. The men’s area or the guest area was restricted to the South east corner of the house comprising of the Formal Guest room, the guest bedroom, Prayer room and the home office. The rest of the house is separated by two internal open to sky courtyards.

The North west section of the house has the kitchen and other services primarily accessed by the women folks of the house. The central courtyard helps in bringing a good amount of privacy for the women’s area, without the need for a physical separation as proposed by the owner. The master bedroom is to the north west with the parents’ bedroom next to it. There being 4 children there are 2 bedrooms to the south. Each bedroom on the ground floor gets its own private garden.

The big courtyard between the 4 bedrooms has a swimming pool and is flanked by a veranda connecting the south wing with the north. The living room and dining room is positioned in the centre of the house in order to facilitate the congregation of all the family members in this space without fail. The dining could be extended to the large courtyard and the family could spend time by the pool without compromising the privacy.  The verandah on the western side facing the pool would allow the south west breeze to move freely inside the house. 

The first floor has 2 more bedrooms for the children and private areas like a gym spa and salon. The family lounge and home theatre sits above the dining and living room. 

The house primarily built along the N-S axis has a long linear double storied mass on the eastern edge with two single storied wings on the Northern and southern edge. The orientation allows to capture the S-W breeze. The large overhangs of the single pitched metal roof with an under lining of hardwood accentuates the predominantly white base. The floating effect of the roof has been achieved by using clear laminated glass between the roof and the wall its sits on. 

The lightness of the roof has been complimented with the heavy textures of the stone wall or the blank white walls. The duality comes not just in terms of spatial planning that seeks to achieve a balance between private and public spaces, between open and closed spaces but also in the tectonics of the materials used. The proposed design tries to address the dichotomy created by the traditional and cultural values the client was rooted in and the aspirations that he acquired while living in Dubai.  

Project TypeResidential
LocationKozhikode, Kerala, India
Project StatusUnbuilt
Plot Area4566 sq.m
Built-up Area 1469 sq.m
Structural ConsultantsEco Consultants
TeamPramod Jaiswal, Divya Ethirajan, Cariappa