New-Delhi based Amit Khanna Design Associates led by Founder & Principal Architect Amit Khanna has adhered to specificity and sustainability intrinsic to the design process and in all the projects. Buildotech highlights the design principles followed by the firm.
Established by Amit Khanna in 2004, AKDA integrates the disciplines of architecture, interior design, furniture, lighting and product design under a singular ethos. We love building things. Established by Amit Khanna in 2004, the studio philosophy is to make regional specificity and sustainability intrinsic to the design process and the final product. Every object we produce, be it a 60,000 sqft office building or a 0.5 sqft light fixture, undergoes the same scrutiny of process and exactitude, that is founded in suitable materiality and innovation, irrespective of appearance,” says Khanna.
The quest for absolute quality implies that the firm follows a unique system of design development by which the skills and experience of the people who actually craft the buildings and objects are imbibed. The important factor practiced at AKDA, is freedom of expression where abundance of information is available to the client. The focus is to deliver innovation that uplifts our environment instead of allowing our built environment to be a mishmash of private agendas, that are an outcome of misinformed aspiration. A recent addition has been of the growing sensitivity to the local urban environment whereas the project expands to think of the community issues, in addition it also encourages clients’ interest. Through recent projects, the firm has extended programmatic requirements to improve urban edges and the comfort of non-paying users on the street.
“As a firm, we have developed a simple system of parameters that guide our approach to formulating innovative design solutions. Some are as simple as using energy efficient appliances and lighting, while others are more complex such as sourcing local materials and ensuring optimum orientation,” explains Khanna. “Central to the design ethos, it is the need to design buildings that perform better than the industry average and raise the bar for ethical construction standards. Current building technology and construction practices still limit the ability to achieve net-zero, i.e. A building that manages to generate as much energy as it consumes. However, thoughtful design can measurably reduce the amount of energy that a building needs and each tiny improvement in a building adds upto a significant change in the overall environmental impact of our work.”
De-Stijl House, New Delhi
Desolving the boundaries of Inside and Outside
The owners wanted to incorporate their large art collection in their new home along with the requirement of additional living arrangements for a family of two generations. Situated directly opposite an earlier project designed by AKDA (Transformation, 2010), they chose to frame the views to the same mango tree that shades the earlier house. The project was designed with 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 looked into from the formal living areas and a smaller one 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 interiors are finished in muted tones of white. The regular dark tones of wood finishes were 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.
The 10,000 sqft house takes its name from the early 20th century art movement, which helped spawn the modern movement in architecture. The hallmark of the original De Stijl House, the Rietveld-Schröder House (Utrecht) was to make a building that seemed to be composed entirely of surfaces and volumes that were gliding past each other, dissolving the boundaries of inside and outside. A long window is designed in the vein of Mondrian’s paintings, a composition of rectangles and squares in various proportions and colours. The facade continues the same theme, with various elements first being designed 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.