Vertical Courtyard House by Manoj Patel Design Studio

Fact File
Location: Vadodara, Gujarat
Size: 287 sq m
Principal Architect: Manoj Patel
Photography by: Umang Shah


Vertical Courtyard House by Manoj Patel Design Studio is a meticulously composed residence that utilises a detailed study of the climate and context to facilitate a serene, understated lifestyle. The home is situated in Vadodara, Gujarat, and has been planned by exploring the interaction between surrounding houses, dense greenery, and the village lifestyle. The owner has a nuclear family consisting of a couple and their children. They are accustomed to living a simple and quiet life based on their village community. While approaching this project, the main challenge was to incorporate an existing bank structure on the ground and create a house that feels close to nature. From every position outside, one can see large, varied openings for ample airflow and natural lighting. Through this project, we incorporated simple methods to create architectural spaces, used common local materials to clad, and used a colour palette of pop-shades to accentuate the beauty of mass.

Here, the study of climate plays a significant role in planning an organised layout with multiple voids in the form of terraces and double-height spaces. The absence of openings on the west façade provides a large surface area for cladding. A vernacular material—clay roof tiles—was identified as clad, which is low cost and has longevity. Through various explorations and craftsmanship, the patterns depict the toran graphics at 45-degree angles. In the Indian context, the proportions of clay roof tile strips cast shadows on the surface based on the sun’s movement. The screening keeps the interior spaces cool and stands out from the local fabric. The staircase sets its own identity in the double-height area through the semi-open railing designed to combine an adjoining TV wall unit and an overhanging passage in a play of contrasting yellow and grey hues. This creates the illusion of a whole mass popping out of the inward-looking, subtle-coloured mass. The master bedroom on the upper floor has a large balcony, acting as a barrier and canopy for the first floor. It also acts as an interactive link, making it look like a voluminous connected frame mass. The beauty of the backdrop is enhanced by the pink graphics, wooden texture laminates and shadow play. 

The house has its primary functions of living, kitchen, dining, and bedrooms on the first and second floors, respectively. The living room transforms into a double-height space with a muted palette contrasting the vivid fabrics and rug, blending traditional village art with contemporary aesthetics. The proportions of the openings facilitate required light and ventilation while preventing the harsh sun. As an alternative to monotonous kitchen interiors, a contrasting colour palette of brown is used distinctively with white shades. To separate the existing ground structure from the entrance gateway of the dwelling, a pergola-framed structure, with an adjacent recessed green wall, has been created in bold, dark colours to emphasise the massing. The sun’s harsh rays get diffused by the pergolas and provide shade to the parking space. When entering the main structure on the first floor, one is greeted by a double-height foyer partly covered with vertical fins to protect from west glazing and to ensure visual connectivity across the road. The door showcases a unique concept of merging jaali effects with safety measures as a new see-through screen. A bold palette emphasises the intricate beauty of the door.

The dining space is arranged around an inner, double-height courtyard in the middle of the house, creating an airy and peaceful zone separate from the outside. The carefully crafted backdrop mural becomes the focus of the space and forms an introverted dining area, helping to connect the family with nature and themselves. There are layers of double-height areas and voids designed for the master bedrooms on the first and second floors. Vertical slits were provided on one of the bedroom walls to introduce privacy and visual connectivity in the dining room. The connected, huge balcony creates air corridors for the internal and external spaces. In alignment with the interior theme, the backdrop has been carved from minimal wooden panels, making it appear voluminous. In the kid’s room, the colour palette was conceived as a vibrant combination of pink and violet with an interactive visual experience. The study table was placed adjacent to an opening to invite diffused light and a close-to-nature feeling due to the surrounding dense vegetation.