Ahmedabad, Gujarat 2011 - 2015
Tower House is an experiment in vertical living. A typical bungalow of 345 square meters is squeezed into a footprint of 6.5 x 12.5m, forcing the program up five stories rather than spread along the ground. Our goal was to create the experience of living in a house, despite the stacked nature of the building type, that evokes the warmth and connection of shared spaces, and creates a diversity of experiences throughout the space. At the same time, it takes advantage of the benefits of moving vertically with efficiently organized plumbing and mechanical systems, views across the city, and greater potentials for both stack and cross ventilation.
A concrete frame provides the skeleton, with circulation centredto allow openings on all sides, and an outward looking entry to every room. Walls wrap the interior spaces, while balconies move around on each floor to open new vistas and new experiences. Rooms are treated as pockets within the larger framework, minimizing the need for air conditioning and maintaining the connection to the outdoors.While balconies turn in to bring a corner of outdoor space to the room, punched windows around the wall create an intimate experience, deeply protected and low, their view is found only from a seated position.
The design balances two driving forces: to give the residents the feeling of a house and not a tower, and to use verticality for an efficient, climate responsive building. The central stair is critical for both these goals, and became the trunk for the design, off which other moves branch. It is the core that organizes services and treats vertical movement as part of the house. Each room opens from it and moves back toward it, upholding the idea of the stair as an element within the space. On first and fourth floors, the walls of the rooms also use glass to reveal the stair and further envelop it inside. As a passive element, the stair is semi open, and draws air through the house, while ventilation in each room can be controlled simply by opening the relevant windows. A rainscreenjaalifilters light in the stair, protecting the privacy of the space at lower levels. It is suspended one inch outside the floor, to allow any water that reaches the inside surface an obstructed path to the ground. The firebrick blocks of the jaaliare taken from the form of the kiln burner block, used for their convenient slope which both provides critical protection from rain, and a muted diffuse light.