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De Stijl House

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The owners wanted to incorporate their large art collection in the new home along with the requirement of additional living arrangements for a family of two generations. Amit Khanna & Design Associates (AKDA) designed the project choosing to frame the views of a dense mango tree at the front of the property.

Located in an upscale neighbourhood of New Delhi, the 10000sqft residence was planned as three distinct zones- a ground floor apartment, a basement gallery space for the daughter’s art collection and a duplex apartment on the upper floors for the owners. There is a large courtyard that can be over looked from the formal living areas and a smaller courtyard that brings light to an internal stair for the upper apartment. A stepped arrangement of verandahs on the north corner brings light and green views to the lounge areas on all floors.

The house takes its name from the early 20th century art movement, De Stijl, Dutch for “The Style” which helped spawn the modern movement in architecture. De Stijl proponents advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour. They simplified visual compositions to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colours along with black and white. The hallmark of this house too is seemingly dissolving boundaries of inside and outside. The building façade is a composition of rectangles and squares in various proportions and colours that make the exterior appear composed entirely of surfaces and volumes gliding past each other. The same theme continues in the interiors. A long window is designed in the style of Mondrian’s paintings and various elements have first been created as a composition of horizontal and vertical rectangles and then given contrasting material finishes. Brick, grey granite and exposed concrete were chosen for their longevity and colour.

The interior surfaces are finished in muted tones of white. The regular dark tones of wood finishes have been eschewed in favour of the blonde, honey coloured quality of oak wood and a similarly light cream coloured stone has been used to create a neutral, yet domestic backdrop to the art on display. A structural wood stair, dramatically lit from below descends to the basement from within the house. On the terrace, a deep verandah opening onto the garden makes a relaxing space for evening dining. The walls are raised to avoid the unsightly views and the only thing that can be seen is the sky.

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