Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Begun in 1996 and completed in 2002, this house started off for a single person and eventually taken over by a young family of 4. The first brief asked for an ‘inverted pyramid’ design so as to be almost ‘floating’ off the earth – which was translated into a circular central staircase holding up the whole house on a 10 x 10m square platform. The platform had a living space and bedroom with attached bathroom; most of the space given to open verandahs to enjoy outdoor living. When the house changed hands, the spaces went through change to suit the family.

Building design
After the changes from the original design, this house has on the ground floor the living, dining, a kitchen and the guest room while the more private bedrooms are on the first floor. The circular staircase made of precast steps remains central, connecting the two floors. A large sloping roof enfolds within it, the entire first floor. The deep overhangs and ample terraces formed by the roof create comfort zones necessary in the hot and humid climate by shading walls and cutting out harsh glare.

Foundations are of stabilized rammed earth and the earth bricks used for the walls were manufactured on the site from soil dug out to form a rain water percolation pond.

This first floor platform is made of a beam and stone slab construct which reduces the quantity of steel and cement used.

This house uses a plant bed filtration system for recycling and reusing in the garden, it’s waste water.