Project: The Core Court House
Lead Architects: Urvi Shah
Design Team: Kunjal Shah, Naimisha Desai, Nikita Bhatt
Location: Vadodara, India
Area: 4500 ft²
Photo credits: Tejas Shah
As the name suggests, the house is developed around an introspective courtyard, creating a core space that casts interesting multi-level interactions with the adjoining spaces. This courtyard is the soul of an otherwise simple house.
Situated on a 2900 sq. ft. plot of a gated community in Vadodara, the context of the site as one can easily imagine did not provide much of an interesting canvas. So we decided to create one for our clients. Being mindful of the plot size, we restrained from investing a lot of space on something elemental and compromising on the client’s requirements. We rather wanted to generate something from within. So, as one can see, we carved the courtyard centrally in the plan and designed a staircase around it. The light penetrating from the skylight and the lush green plantation in the court together add life to the house helping us create enlivening spaces around it.
The planning is rather simple with the living, dining, kitchen, and one bedroom on the ground floor surrounding the core court. Three bedrooms on the first floor with a connecting passage overlooking the courtyard and a home theatre, art studio, and terrace on the second floor with a similar passage as the first floor, overlooking the courtyard.
The massing is a floating brick box. Instead of going with the ordinary brick bond, we chose to use a horizontal stack bond to grasp that striking plainness. Planters and balconies are carved out in the south and west directions to act as buffers for the internal spaces. This greenery curtain breaks the solidity of the façade. The concept of oblique concrete bands was then introduced to add some uniqueness, as well as to further create curiosity and interest for what dwells inside.
The interior is a play of three materials – grey flooring, white walls, and wooden furniture. The furniture is either built-in or very minimal, but at the same time is in sync with the unflinching solidity of the outside. An attempt is made to wholly and solely maintain the importance of the courtyard rather than shifting it to fancy elements.
The staircase rising against the only brick wall inside the house, though simple, adds an elemental tranquillity. The skylight above it cast whimsical sciography on the brick wall. The play of these shadows along with the core court at its base keeps the house dramatic throughout the day. To sum it up, this house appears to be a simple, ordinary house to a common man. It is the resident, who on experiencing life day after day, experiences its extra-ordinary character.