T House by Studio Course is the embodiment of the practice’s philosophy of using a meticulous selection of sustainable materials and detailing in conjunction with vernacular craftsmanship. Referencing mid-century modern homes, the residence has been crafted in a timeless aesthetic, featuring a nature-inspired colour palette and ingenious bespoke design interventions. Black granite flooring, hand-painted walls, teak, Kota stone, brass, woven rattan, and wickerwork are complemented by the curation of furnishings by Hans Wegner, George Nakashima, and Pierre Jeanneret. A reference to contemporise mid-century modern architecture was the short, clear brief that the client shared with us. The intent and the course that our studio tries to unfold is of a coherent design over the path of contemporary architecture. Simplistic, minimal design with a careful selection of sustainable materials and precise details with local craftsmanship is central to our philosophy.
The plot sits within a community of 15 other bungalows, which had to abide by the builder’s common plans for façade planning, finishing treatment, and appearance. Due to these constraints, the internal spaces and planning became our way to experiment with the design of this house. The T House is planned so that the circulation core and passages are in the centre and all the living spaces are around them. This opens up the entire house to the outdoors, bringing in surplus natural light and allowing for ventilation in each room. In essence, the underlying ideology used in the design is a reference to mid-century modern homes, where the client aspired to leave a legacy behind for his daughter. The client also looked at the house as one that would withstand the test of time rather than be trendy.
Just as the musical expression in jazz music is defined by its composition and arrangement, ingenuity is one of its key elements, where a musician invents music at the spur of the moment. Ingenuity is all about expressing one belief. Similarly, the design portrays many such elements for innovation. Everything is doing its part, but they come together beautifully. “I believe to convey an expression, it’s very important for the complete envelope to speak the same story,” says Kalpak Shah, principal architect, a statement he believes he has learned from studying Mies van der Rohe and from his experiences working closely with Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai. The relationship between client and architect is fundamental, as this is a highly tailor-made home to reflect the client’s comfort, lifestyle, and personality. Colours are inspired by nature, with black granite floors and hand-painted grey walls that display the tactility of the process. The skirting rises a few inches higher than the general norm, giving solidity to the space.
The client and Shah share their ideology towards design: “Details make the design; details are as integral as the whole of the design.” It is not just a technique to finish a product or space. Hans Wegner, George Nakashima, and Pierre Jeanneret chairs were handpicked, some of which were altered to meet the design language and suit Indian anthropometry. Besides, most of the house furniture, partitions, handles, and latches are custom designed by the studio using natural brass, teak wood, fluted glass, woven rattan, and Danish cord wickerwork. Another element of space-making is the bay window, which connects the inside to the outside. Additionally, there’s a nook in every room to snuggle and curl up in while watching the world go by. The indoor plants stroll into the spaces as if the outdoors have come in. The design adapts for each space depending on its function and scale; for example, the walls of the toilets become white with lighter grey Kota flooring to respect the smaller volume. The idea is to maintain cohesion throughout the house for each type of space.