Architect Delhi : Kapil Aggarwal and Nikhil Kant, partners at Spaces Architects, share with us their journey as architects and how they have seen this industry develop in past decade. Their own work has grown by leaps and bounds in the same timeframe. The Urban Box project in Model Town, is a recent one they are particularly proud of.
After completing his schooling, Kapil Aggarwal was inclined towards the Fine Arts. His academic results enabled him to pursue a course in architecture. For Nikhil Kant, on the other hand, architecture was a natural progression, given that his family had an established construction business at Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.The two friends enjoyed working together even though each had a different approach to design. The benefits of their different perspectives were put to use with good team work.
Their friendship grew on the campus of the Manipal Institute of Technology more than 16 years ago. A meeting of minds and sensibilities brought them together, coupled with the drive to do something different in the field of architecture and interior design.
After completing their studies in architecture, the two went their own ways and worked in different architectural firms only to finally realise that working together was a better prospect.
Their ambition led them to set up an architecture practice in 1999. That was how Spaces was born.
They started in a small room with a single employee. The first project was a ‘furniture interiors’ assignment for a farmhouse outside Delhi. The owner was from Belgium,and required a design that was different from the norm. The team decided to merge metal, glass and wood to design all the furniture elements in the home. Their design concept was well-received.
This led to more residential projects. The duo then ventured into commercial interiors with an office project in Defence Colony, where they played with colour. Next, was a house in Pitampura where the design was modern in concept using different kinds of materials it. In effect, it was this project that was a turning point for the team.
Of course, there has been a huge change in the industry since they started. At that time, computer technology was at a nascent stage, and most offices were working on drawing boards. Technology enhanced quality management, apart from being a great design tool. The rise of the internet brought the world to their desktop and enabled them to share experiences and views on a community platform.
Spaces has over 300 projects in its portfolio, ranging from residential interiors to institutional buildings. In the last thee years, the studio has won 19 awards, both on the international and national level. A couple of the well-known projects are the Adharshila Vatika School project and a kindergarden school which highlighted use of form and colour. The school project won the Design Share award in 2008, being the only Asian school to have won a merit award in the category.
Kapil and Nikhil plan to continue experimenting with different types of architecture and would also like to work urban development projects in the near future.
THE URBAN BOX
The project concept was derived to adapt to the demands of contemporary life.
The design processes started with paper folding, to explore the possible spatial dynamics by dissecting a box, and displacing the parts into multiple planes of alternating solids and voids.
This was later developed, together with scaled drawings, and with a series of mock-ups. On plan and section, the displaced shells generated juxtaposed spaces, displacing the interior and exterior boundaries, optimising natural light and ventilation.
The idea was to make the exterior landscape a part of the interior space. The rectangular plot size of 37’ x 150‘ is also situated on a busy road, so creating a sense of serenity was an integral part of the concept.
The plan was designed as three parallel layers arranged along the north-south axis. A series of double height courtyards, water bodies, and landscape elements were introduced to enhance the quality of indoor space and connect the different levels.
Great emphasis was placed on maximising natural light and connecting different levels of the house to minimise the longitudinal width of the plot.
The ground floor has the living, dining, kitchen, guest bedroom and parents room, along with the entire lobby. The first floor has three bedrooms, while the third floor has an entertainment area with a terrace garden.
Upon entering the house, there is a double height lobby which connects to the first floor. The use of glass brightens up the whole area. The living room faces the lawn. An interesting element is the overall composition that connects spaces. For instance, an informal lounge on the ground floor has a triple height ceiling that connects all three floors.
The highlight of the house is the water-body with a Buddha statue and a water curtain flowing in the pool below. This area is in sharp contrast to other contemporary spaces thus creating transition, and a dramatic atmosphere brought in by the playful entry of lights reflected throughout the wooden pergola and the triple height wall, further highlighted by concealed lights in the pool. The water-body also acts as transitional space between the informal lounge and dining area.
The open plan kitchen has windows that bring in lots of light into the dining area. The family lounge connects to the parents bedroom, via a folding door. It is also connected by double height to the family lounge on the first floor. The family lounge also has ten feet high sliding doors which open into the rear lawn.
Wooden steps take you to the first floor. Here, a passage connects the master bedroom with the entrance lobby below, and brings in light from windows at the entrance. The full-height window in the master bedroom enables a view of all three floors.
The family lounge at the other end has a metal staircase leading to the second floor, and the other two bedrooms flank the lounge.
Features of an environment friendly home
Natural light through cut-outs and big windows reduce electricity consumption.
Ventilation through electrically operated exhaust fans at triple height helps induce ventilation using the “stack effect”.
The sliding doors in north and south allows for natural ventilation.
Four-star rated appliances are used throughout the house.
Solar panels have been installed for hot water usage.
Maximum use of LED and CFL reduces electricity consumption.
Use of water-based stains and paints and minimum use of PVC and adhesive, with low VOCs to minimise toxic gas emission.
Read the full feature on Prismma Magazine
Category: Home Design India: Home Tours