PSP Architects India
Name of the project: Achuthan Residence
Name of client: Mrs. and Mr. Achuthan
Location: Pallavakam, Chennai, India
Site Area: 3200 sq. ft.
Built up Area: 3650 sq. ft.
Year of completion: 2009
Design Team: Ajay Sethi, Sunil Philip
Consultants: Structure, Beliappa and Associates; Plumbing, Mukund and Associates; Electrical, Eshwari and Co.
Contractors: Shriji Engineers and Contractors
Photo Credits: Shanki Mahendra
Built close to the sea shore for a client moving just a few plot widths down the road, the initial brief required that the house shuts itself to the corrosive eastern sea breeze, the otherwise obvious source for good wind and views in Chennai. Moving against conventional logic, the house literally opens up to the West through a series of deep overhanging spaces. The exposed parts of the Western and Southern walls are built as 15 inch thick brick cavity walls, and the windows twist at 45 degrees towards the north to avoid the direct sun from getting into the living spaces. Since the house was meant to open up to the outside, deep overhanging verandahs, pergolas and lofty curved roofs try to shade the inside spaces as much as possible.
As the bedrooms all face west, large skylights were added to these rooms on the first floor to give its occupants a glimpse of the morning sky and bring in the morning light. The masonry skin around the cantilevered staircase on the eastern wall opens up selectively to allow light and ventilation through the entire house.
The front of the house cantilevers above the garage providing an uninterrupted front open space. This space at the upper level serves as a working studio space, accessed by an independent staircase with a separate entry. The studio visually opens out to the front green space through a large corner window which is protected from the Western sun by a large overhanging curved roof, a feature difficult to miss when driving past the house.
The materials chosen for the house are a vitrified tile floor, UPVC windows and natural wood handrails with SS supports. The outside spaces are worked in a combination of hand dressed granite, pebble wash and grass in selective areas.