Palm Avenue House by Architecture Discipline

Fact File
Location: New Delhi
Size: 560 sq m
Principal Architect: Akshat Bhatt
Photography by: Jeetin Sharma


Palm Avenue House by Architecture Discipline is a residence that takes inspiration from iconic architectural works, such as Villa Petit by Le Corbusier, in its spatial interplay. The project reflects an unconventional feel of other-worldliness within the residential realm of Palm Avenue, Vasant Kunj. Standing disparate with its clean lines and minimalistic exteriors, the property is symbolic of the evolution that its owners and creators underwent during its three-year completion period. Home to a family of five, across three generations, the project presented an opportunity for its residents to live in their own diverse ways, yet unified in spirit. With the land as the centrepiece, the discourse of the project unfolds prudently, with the design adapting to the space and its demands. Much like the Villa Petit, the studio positions all the plans in sync with the space at hand. The pillars of the project are natural light, clean air, an open floor plan, and luxurious interiors, synonymous with the disposition of the residents. Divorced from the denotation of pretentious, the blueprints focused on building a house with a strong foundation, deep-rooted in the rich history of the family, capable of catering to the present needs and offering plenty of future opportunities.

“Normally, architects render a service; they implement what other people want. This is not what I do. I like to develop the use of the building together with the client, in a process, so that as we go along, we become more intelligent.”

This thought led to the decision to create a space that is progressive, timeless, and still relevant twenty years later. Wrapped in meticulous timber grids, the exteriors are carefully planned to reflect the gradual ageing process one sees in nature. Dipping into this nature-centric focus, the landscape is bohemian and vernacular. Lemongrass and seasonal flowers mark the boundary of the house, and daily-use ingredients grown in plentiful amounts serve as gentle reminders that the entire eco-scape is composed of a value system in its entirety. As one enters the house, there is a sense of home. Like most families, it doesn’t reveal all but gives you a feeling of being a welcomed insider rather than a guest. The ceiling upon entry is kept deliberately low, with a sudden boom of height as one walks through the doorway, escalating from 7 feet to 22 feet in an instant. The visible structures stress order and provide a clean space with clear narratives that are real, minimal, and honest to their residents. The house features two distinct spaces: private and public, which are deemed fit when overlapped. Entered through a punctured-like short transition from the family space and into the common room. The formal living area blends in with the family recreation space, emitting a sense of inclusivity. The formal living room connects to the dining area through a brightly-coloured, animated spiral staircase with metal wrapping, which is inspired by the renowned architect of the mainstream modernist movement, Pierre Chareau’s dynamic and delicate sense of design.

“When you are consciously aware of the liberty you have, it allows you to deconstruct your own creation.”

The formal dining room houses a large table that can accommodate up to 40 people, with a striking minibar and parquet flooring in three colours, making it optimal for entertainment and quintessentially minimal. This space overlooks the front lawn, which has been completed with customized seating and a toddler play arena that is set against black exterior walls to highlight the green. The lush green garden is also a source of calm and serene natural light that diffuses through the 6-metre-tall contemporary glass façade. Right under the formal living room is the basement, concealed from view to highlight its private function. Equipped with a home theatre, giant cellar and replete with storage, it is the perfect extension acoustically treated for loud parties, disconnected from the rest of the house and accessed through an elevator. Each bedroom has been carefully planned and executed to suit the requirements of respective family members while following the same overarching theme of simplicity. While the kids’ room has a colourful floor with textiles in geometric patterns and bright colours, the adult rooms are more spacious and classier, with oversized beds on giant platforms, resembling a traditional Indian palang. While most people think of houses as hotels, the studio has a different outlook. The house is programmed in a way to allow for flexible partitions and systems, which can be moulded to increase or decrease space as needed in the future. The bare walls serve as an opportunity for the family members to start afresh and etch their experiences as they move along.

With a clear concept of drawing on the natural energy and playing with backward layering, the studio stayed away from over-styling the space. Keeping light at the crux, the studio has focused on various aspects surrounding it, including diffusion, patterns, and shadows. The parapet on top of the staircase is made of mirrored glass and disseminates light everywhere, adding to the airy feel of the house. Each element resonates opulence and is an anecdotal response to its residents, such as the floor, which is hard quartz with brass inlay from MP, and the open-riser timber staircase, which leads to a straight flight up to the next floor, giving a crisp and fuss-free look to the room. The house has a pitched roof, which is where the real release of space comes into play. The apex skylight is covered during the summer months and opens to abundant natural light in the winter for the family to enjoy. The rooftop also houses a small pool. The studio wanted to elaborate on the idea of the home being a space for people, which is why a conscious decision was made to keep the car park away. The house is sans a porch so that no cars are ever seen. Additionally, the service footprint in the house has been minimized and is safe for children, providing them with unfettered movement. The studio has worked consistently towards reducing wasteful energy consumption at every level, be it material, or intellectual, so as to never overstate something that seems incomplete or complex. In doing so, the essential elements have become the creative process, and the end product is satisfactory across all sensory levels.