Rekindling the charm of traditional houses, the design of a suburban retreat by Kumar Moorthy & Associates has captivated our attention in the Jaunapur area of Delhi located on the outskirts. It is a 2.5 acres project called Gopalakrishnan Farm designed for a family with a modern ecological sensibility. The clients have worked all their life in different countries across the globe and the home is a place to house their possessions collected in all these years from every place. They lead a book-oriented lifestyle in seclusion and the design of the farm paints a visually captivating setting and imparts a spacious feeling.
The clients are a couple engaged in literary and non-profit activities and their choices lie far from the flashy aesthetic-oriented farmhouses of Delhi. They imagined a dwelling nestled amidst nature and a place providing opportunities to have a hands-on experience of organic farming and sustainable living. Gopalakrishnan farm is reflective of the client’s cultural roots in South India. The design language abides by the hot temperate climate of Delhi which is quite different from the warm coastal and wet climatic conditions of Kerala.
The house is designed around multiple lushly planted courtyards with each one instilled with a different experience at each pause. The axially planned corridor brings back attention to the main gardens designed at the back of the house to ensure privacy and enjoy the morning and evening sun. Other artifacts, stone sculptures, and antique doors are used to accentuate the whole space.
The house incorporates an open plan for ease of flow of spaces and is divided into leisure areas and private areas. The entertainment areas and daytime spaces are planned in a sequential manner depicting the design as a large-scale weekend home. The frontcourt with a lily pool guides the entry to the house. The Gopalakrishnan farm is planned with contiguous spaces that pave way for the main garden view as soon as the front door is opened. The coconut tree trunk wood columns that are used in the colonnade surrounding the main courtyard are sourced from Kerala.
The farm has a guest room on one side of the courtyard as the clients are frequently visited by their friends and relatives and a living area identical to a barn on the other side. The living area has seating, cooking area, and dining area contributing to the formation of the heart of the house. The couple’s collection of art and artifacts ingrains life into the whole space and the rest of the job is done using a new avatar dining table, cuddapah stone floor, and rough wooden bar. The deep shaded verandas on either side of the living room open into the garden through huge openings.
Private verandas and decks are designed with the bedrooms of the occupants and the interior of the bedrooms are symbolic of the client’s personality. The elements that showcase the earthen vibe of the place with a sense of traditional design are the interiors of the house. The expansive green views, sculptural staircase, exclusive furniture, and wooden beam ceilings offer a rich experience to the users of the Gopalakrishnan farm. The interior palette uses simple materials including exposed brick finishes, white ceilings and walls, polished black stone floors, and wooden detailing.
The landscape elements of Gopalakrishnan farm are intertwined with the interiors by maximizing access to terrace gardens and courtyards to stay closer to greenery. The planters are planned at various levels of the building showcasing a green cascading effect over the volume of the built form. The fragrant species of trees like Spanish cherry, Indian Mongolia, ylang ylang, and cape jasmine, are planted near the main building to bring in the pleasing scents inside. The periphery is beautified with colorful species like African tulip, pink trumpet tree, pride of Burma, cannonball tree, to craft varying views across different seasons and provide a delightful experience. The green spaces are balanced with the outdoor sculptures and alfresco dining patio.
Passive design features of Gopalakrishnan Farm
Kumar Moorthy & Associates have designed the space considering the hot arid summers and cold dry winters of Delhi. Various passive design techniques are incorporated to provide thermally comfortable interiors to the users and move towards an energy-savvy design.
- The plan of the farm is oriented in the favorable breeze directions to keep the house properly ventilated and naturally cool which reduces electricity usage. Large shaded openings maximize cooler breeze influx and hinder the impact of hot summer winds.
- The house is oriented along the east-west axis to direct early morning sun to bedroom spaces and winter sun towards the whole length of the house.
- The house is planned in a U-shaped with a North-facing courtyard that brings maximum light to most of the spaces. Design massing is incorporated to achieve maximum shading. The massing in the east shades the courtyard from summer sun till mid-noon and the high ceiling voluminous living room shades it from the western side.
- The eaves of the verandah roof provide shading to the interior spaces and beautiful views from the openings protected under the roof.
- Courtyard planning is a very beneficiary element inducing a stack effect to the design and providing an extremely comfortable environment for the users. Not Only do the courtyards catalyze cross-ventilation but also they act as heat sinks as the courtyards are not paved but planted.
- The landscape is composed of several water bodies that cool the air passing through them and help in reducing the temperature of the interiors.
- Locally available materials like terracotta tiles, stone, or bricks, are used for construction. Terracotta tile roofs are used instead of RCC slabs and steel is used for pitched roof structures, minimizing the usage of concrete and wood. The coconut wood that is used for columns or trusses is a renewable material.
Active design features of Gopalakrishnan Farm
The design uses certain systems actively at an initial expenditure to avoid the usage of natural resources.
- The most prevailing system is the water recycling system incorporated in the design. It works in two different formats, one is the storage and processing of the rainwater and the other is the treatment of wastewater. The rainwater is processed not only from the site but also channelized from the nearby roads and further processed for recharging the groundwater levels. The Wastewater system used is a non-chemical system used for both gray and black water. The recycled water is used for flushing purposes and in horticulture.
- Solar collection units are on work for heating water required for any purpose.
- The flora that is planted on the site is all indigenous. The fruit and flowering shrubs are selected based on insect life support and food provision for local avian species.
- Other than the space occupied by landscaping and built form, the rest of the space is dedicated to organic farming. The product is used by the owner or supplied to Delhi’s market of organic produce.
Gopalakrishnan Farm is an apt example of a traditionally rooted dwelling that uses sustainable building techniques for a smart space and technology for the betterment of the environment.
Project name: Gopalkrishnan Farm
Location: Radhey Mohan Drive, Jaunapur, New Delhi
Total Area: 2.5 acres
Design Firm: Kumar Moorthy & Associates
Principal Architect: Narayan Moorthy
Design Team: Narayan Moorthy, Mallika Kumar, Bhupesh Tandon, Amit Sheokand, Sonal Dongre
Client Name: Gopi & Chitra Gopalakrishnan
Image Credits: Eyepiece Photography