An Aesthetic Retrofit for a house under construction

The client, a young businessman disillusioned with his commissioned architect’s plans for his new house in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, desired a facelift for the project. What we realized almost immediately was that it wasn’t the plans that had caused the dis-illusionment, no these were working perfectly – it was the overall aesthetic of the building that had caused it. It amazed us to see how disengaged the building plan was from its ‘aesthetic’. What we proposed was an integrated aesthetic-plan for the house that would involve minimal change.

The site when we found it

However on site, the first floor was already entirely built and form-work for the second floor slab was underway based on previous plans. Apart from the finer remodeling of specific portions of the original construction, a substantial part of the proposal was an integrative landscape plan for the entire house. We worked closely with the commissioned architect and the project was completely executed by the commissioned architects based on our new design proposal. We called it an ‘aesthetic retrofit’ for a house under construction.

Minor re-modelling and an integrated landscape plan

The primary concern was the (oversized) scale of the house. At first glance the building seemed three storeys high with the water tank looming over the front elevation. The forecourt had minimal landscaping that made the building look even taller. Furthermore, the east corner of the building had a double height, curved, glazed surface on the exterior which gave the building a kind of commercial complex aesthetic. Our proposal defined a set of walled-in courtyards that were added to the periphery of the house to break the volume and to create private outdoor spaces. Internally, we sought to free up the plan and allow light and breeze through. A significant aspect of the project was simply regulating and proportioning elements according to climatic conditions. Intentions for the project were communicated to the commissioned architect through sketches and very basic working drawings. Site photographs courtesy client.

On-site sketches

Side elevation

Walled-in courtyards along periphery


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