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The Box House by Traanspace

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Fact File
Location: Vadodara
Size: 420 sq m
Principal Architect: Urvi Shah
Photography by: Tejas Shah Photography


The Box House by Traanspace has been composed to respond wonderfully to its context and a client brief that entailed a home integrated with nature. Built on a plot of 420 square metres, the house nestles in a gated community surrounded by bungalows on adjoining sides with an access road only on the south. The client wanted the house to be outlined for a family of four. Having lived in a utilitarian house, they desired a shift to one closer to nature. They expected the design to be very functional and believed in the merits of maximalism. The internal zonal articulation is kept simple, with distinctly delineated public, semi-private, and private zones. The common areas, which consist of living, dining, the kitchen, and a guest bedroom, are housed on the lower level, the main bedrooms are on the first floor, and the semi-private spaces are on the level above. The heart of the design is the central courtyard, which was strategically placed, to establish visual linkages and connectivity in all three dimensions.

The prime concept was to open out each space and have green pockets in sync with nature. The heart of the design is the central courtyard, strategically created to establish visual linkages. After leaving the regulation margins, an additional setback was planned on the road-facing side of the plot. In this expanse, a garden was conceived. Living, dining, and the staircase, which form the active core of the house, were designed with limited or no wall separation between them. Aligned with the client brief, landscaped pockets were planned in and around these spaces to keep them open and connected with nature. Spaces overlooking these green areas were designed on the above floors. The facade is flanked by terraces at different levels to block the direct entry of sunlight and act as a buffer for the main functional spaces. The elevation thus strikes a balance between solidity and transparency. Boxes are used as elements to add character to the climate-responsive balcony of the master bedroom. Designed to add character to the façade, the window seating draws inspiration from the box concept. A shift in material from brick to exposed grey plaster distinguishes this volume on the exterior.

A shift in material from brick to exposed grey plaster distinguishes this volume. This concept of boxes further dominates the overall design language. The interior colour scheme is conceptualised to be neutral with a minimal material palette. All the furniture is customised as per design or handcrafted on-site per the details. Wood and metal became the prime elements for developing the furnishings. This material palette is juxtaposed with pastel furnishings and accessories against a muted backdrop of whites and greys. The spaces on the ground floor are arranged in a C-shape around this court. Together with the outdoor landscape, this quad frames beautiful views for the living and dining spaces. The staircase placed in this courtyard is the transition to the above-floor level. The bedrooms on this floor are paired with a common reading area. The staircase further takes one to the second level, encompassing the entertainment room and a landscaped terrace.

The central courtyard was designed to blur the boundaries between inside and outside. It further helps in establishing visual linkages and connections in all three dimensions. Along with the garden, it frames beautiful views of the living area. In line with the deck, it provides the experience of being set in the greens for dining. The vertical axis connects all the floors, exuding a unique experience at each level. The black terrazzo flooring done on-site by local craftsmen and the umbrella tree become the highlights on the ground floor, along with the play of natural light through the slit window on the first and the shadows cast by the skylight on the second. Lastly, this courtyard houses the staircase. With its sleek design in wood and metal in accord with the furniture, the staircase was crafted elsewhere and assembled on-site. Connecting the garden with the interior, this seating area in the living room is a cosy nook to sip a cup of coffee while enjoying the view. On the second floor, overlooking the garden on the ground floor is the terrace. It has been designed to serve a dual function: a spillover space for small gatherings and to act as a warm alcove for the family. Most spaces were furnished with loose furniture to cater to the first function. A metal gazebo with a swing was added for the second function. Greenery completes the space.

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