Auroville, Tamil Nadu

An atelier space for an Austrian music instrument maker, this little 75sqm house is light, open and almost ascetic.

Site integration
The hot and humid climate coupled with the densely wooded area in which the house was to be located, meant that the house needed to ‘breathe’ and stay cool within despite the lack of wind movement. The main living space is essentially a double height volume with a transparent compartmentalization of various functions (study corner, music corner, sitting area); thus allowing a free flow of air within. The verandah which is the transition space, running all along three sides of the house is the outer envelope that keeps the harsh glare out while large openings appropriately oriented (S & SE) optimizes ventilation. The floor is raised a meter above the ground, additionally assisting with natural wind flow. The loft – in effect the sleeping space, faces the south gable opening, giving a view to the tree tops and giving a feeling of suspension in the interior space, melting the feeling of being indoor

Building design
The solutions used for problems common to this area are also aesthetically pleasing. For termite proofing for e.g., granite stone has been placed over the plinth level beams with a metal sheet between the two. The granite stone forms a binding feature in the design – the supporting pillars for the sloping roof over the verandah are all in locally available rough dressed granite. All materials used for the construction are local or from the immediate surrounding areas. The window openings in the plastered fired brick walls have large overhangs which have an understructure of Palmyra wood – a type of palm which is indigenous and termite and borer proof. The main space is covered by a double height clay tiled roof whose understructure is made from recycled timber. An extra insulating layer of composite wood-cement board panels keeps the heat absorbed by the clay tiles out.