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Being Contemporarily Vernacular

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Sunil Patil & Associates (SPA), Pune is known for its usage of vernacular and sustainable building methods in a contemporary fashion. It believes in creating spaces in tune with nature.

Coming from a family that is into construction industry, passion for architecture came naturally to Sunil Patil, Founder and Principal Architect SPA. Started in 1994, the firm is today counted among one of the leading architectural consultancies in India. The firm has a repertoire of more than 300 versatile projects across India which includes Residential & Commercial Complexes, Industrial Buildings, Institutional Blocks, Residential & Corporate Interiors, and Public Utility Places etc.

“By instinct, man likes to be with the nature. His body, his mind responds better to the nature than manmade spaces. There is nothing better than nature that relaxes the man. The Architecture that we create shall be as sensitive to the nature as our skin. We are trying to create spaces with the minimum intervention with the nature. The Architecture which is in harmony with the nature”, explains Sunil Patil. The firm strongly believes that the architecture is to create spaces which shall not just satisfy the functional needs of the users but shall become their companion in sharing the unforgettable moments in their life. “We also believe that the architecture shall belong to the geographical location, the culture, the climate and the era in which a structure is built. Our designs stress on using vernacular material in a contemporary style. Which we call The Contemporary –Vernacular Architecture,” Sunil expounds on the ideology of his firm.

Buildotech is presenting here two residential projects which showcase the firm’s ideology and design philosophy of responding to the site, climate and use of vernacular materials as solution to achieve sustainability in architecture.

Life Style, Kolhapur

Kolhapur is an urban town in predominately rural area. Its main source of income comes from agriculture and sugarcane farming. Apartment culture is not very old but due to the growing population and as the city is surrounded by river Panchaganga limiting of the horizontal growth from three sides, the population concentrated in the town which has forced the need for vertical developments. Hence apartments are the necessary means of accommodation for the people living in town. Having said that, people from small town prefer staying in houses on open plots with front yard and backyard.

To own an independent bungalow on an independent plot in urban area in a city is a dream of every individual. Life Style “Where Dreams Come True” is such a project designed for Bhima Builders that gives the feel of an independent bungalow in apartment style. People are used to having their houses on open plots and open areas around for several activities. Life Style compensates the urge of having open spaces in the means of a “terrace”. Its terrace concept for every apartment gives the feel of a bungalow with lots of space and serenity.

Though it is a group housing project ( site area of 5025.90sqmt & built up area of 7192.19sqmt), each apartment is designed with large shaded openings allowing ample light & ventilation. The spaces are cross ventilated, which helps maintain the thermal comfort. All the openings are recessed and well shaded, allow only diffused light and avoid harsh solar radiation – again achieving thermal comfort and creating comfortable indoor environment. All the common areas like lobbies and staircases are well lit and ventilated reducing the energy demand in the project.

The distance between two buildings is maintained in such a way that all the apartments achieve privacy and yet all of them have visual connection with landscape areas between the two buildings. These open spaces between two buildings are designed with soft and hard landscape creating interaction areas for young and adults both. The clubhouse is designed towards the nalla with large amphitheatre, multipurpose hall, playground, lounge etc.

Designed in vernacular and contemporary styles, the project creates continuity through white bands in all the buildings yet each building gets individuality with different colours. The various colours have been used with grey base, again creating backdrop for the scheme. The white bands are designed in such a way that the band wraps the building & shades the facades & openings. The pergola on the top is a very dynamic feature of the project creating shaded terraces and at the same time creating different pattern on façade. Full height openings create an effect of free standing walls. The glass railing helps in maintaining simplicity yet elegance of the project.

A home with open spaces carry significant importance in people’s life for various rituals and religious activities; indeed these open spaces in the form of terrace play a vital role in the life style of people in places like Kolhapur.

Hanging Gardens

Hanging Gardens is another project where SPA has successfully created a bungalow feel in apartment style housing. Designed with six floors, every floor has one apartment of 1800sqft, and huge terrace accommodating a welldesigned garden and swimming pool. Each apartment consists of living, dining, kitchen, three bedrooms with attached toilets, store and utility etc to support today’s urban life style.

Living dining kitchen has been designed as one space without any partition which visually enhances the space. The terrace is also the extension of living and dining spaces and a bedroom. Thus, making all the primary spaces of the apartment getting openings to the terrace with plunge pool and to the garden. “Today because of the building bylaws, the balconies have vanished from the apartment. So, one can’t enjoy balcony in a regular apartment. Hence bedrooms have been designed with three sides open with glazed doors and a railing which gives feel of the balcony when kept open,” Sunil explains the design idea behind the project.

The materials chosen for the interior decoration are very simple and well within the budget kept for a two-tier city like Kolhapur. The walls are cladded with shahabad and bathroom dado with rough kota stones. Maximum use of plot area has been made to give the best to the builder. The building façade is a composite of well juxtapose masses of shera cladding and rough texture plaster giving a high tech look for the building. The columns supporting the terraces are cladded with aluminum composite panels and continue upto the pergolas on the top terrace giving the appearance of strings holding the terrace. Intricate detailing was done to provide drainage for the terrace garden which is filled with soil to ensure leakage free soffits.

“We believe that the architecture shall belong to the geographical location, the culture, the climate and the era in which a structure is built. Our designs stress on using vernacular material in a contemporary style, which we call The Contemporary –Vernacular Architecture.”

The building is designed to suit tropical climate and is energy efficient. The south walls have been blocked and large openings on the north have been given to admit sufficient light in all areas. Ample cross ventilation in all the rooms reduces the use of air condition in harsh summer. LED lights have been used throughout. Wooden like vitrified tiles are used in rooms and on the plunge pool deck.

“The building lies in a very moderate area but has fetched double profit to the developers because of its out of the box design. Hanging garden has been dream come true and real value for money for the end user and for the investor who has gained his brand value. Our vision to provide quality community living and enhance the better living experience has been fulfilled,” says the architect.

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