The studio-cum-home designed by Manuj Agarwal Associates reflects the design principles, expression, abstraction and regeneration of sustainability in contemporary architecture via native values, and no imported ideas.
The three-storeyed structure houses an architect's studio on the ground floor (below road level). A central courtyard connects all the three floors and brings in natural lighting and controlled ventilation. The masonry of the house is in the local mountain stone for thermal insulation. The glass roof on top of the courtyard, keeps the courtyard area warm, while the central mango tree provides shade in the front lawn during the summer months. Principally planned as a daylight building, the workstations are placed along the glass facade of the building to receive maximum daylight. "There is always a duality at play two opposite materials, two colors, two spaces, two geometries and two textures. Eventually, the built environment consists of spaces, which are sensed through a play of light," says Ar. Manuj Agarwal.
"In the design of this house, we envisioned a relatively modern. architectural expression that would be interpretive of a vernacular aesthetic, while accommodating its green surroundings"
Ar. Manuj Agarwal
The u-shaped plan (optimum form) straddles three sides of the site and allow openness towards the south-eastern side (maximum heat gain). The
house has a NW-SE main axis. Since Dehradun receives at least 100 days of rain in a year, rainwater harvesting and reusing it for flushing cisterns
and landscaping was a major water management solution.
An architecture of rough-cut mountain stone which essentially belongs to the hills complements with floors of rough and leather polished Kadappa and Eta Gold in the studio floor. The interiors again reflect sustainability in contemporary architecture..
"Building in a hill state, our architecture has to be climate sensitive and the relationship between the built form and the external environment bet constant. We were faced with challenges such as how to build the space without scattering the landscape, how to incorporate solar power in the design, use the landscape to our advantage, take cost-effective measures using native skills and resources, and finally, how to integrate traditional values into traditional architecture," adds Manuj.