House between a well & a light tower

Project info

Location: New Delhi INDIA
Site Area:  5,000 sq. ft
Project Type:  Mixed Use
Status:  Completed, 2018

A concoction of diverse spaces in a sleek structure, this mixed-use building in New Delhi, is the marriage of public & private functions where the spaces spread over a cumulative area of 5,000 sq. ft. The project entailed reconfiguring a 70’s structure to make provision for the client’s prevailing functional needs.

Program wise, the spaces consisted of a Lawyer’s Office, Dentist’s Clinic, resting rooms, a library & an outdoor interactive space. The process was visualized as an ‘urban excavation’ of sorts in order to create a functional layout for the proposed program. Changes were made at site & the structural matrix was retrofitted with steel frames to support the existing structure, whilst making way for large apertures that amplified the influx of daylight.

The façade became an assembly of varied elements layered strategically to create the sense of that of an expanded threshold. The façade system was composed of aluminium glazing systems, glass blocks, masonry & steel mesh, all held up by a structural steel frame. The space as a whole became permeable while interacting with a multi-stranded façade.

On the site existed a dried-up water well & its discovery was the conceptual impetus for the project. A vertical axis was set up that originated in the well & concluded in a lightbox at the terrace level. This axis was visualised as a metaphorical link between the Sun & Earth in the built form.

The services were set up end to end, public functions were concentrated towards the front section of the building & the private spaces were placed towards the rear end. The ground & first floor level housed the Lawyer’s Office & meeting spaces. The second floor consisted of the Dentist’s Clinic & private bedrooms. At the terrace floor, the light tower acts as a beacon, commanding the Sky Room. A large picture window frames the Sky Room & allows views to the city. The Sky Room doubles up as a recreational venue for the occupants of the building.

The dried-up water well was excavated & restored, which housed the library within its stone walls. The spaces have been sculpted to evoke a sense of historical construct with elements like dramatically curved drop ceilings being intrinsic to the design.

Each space has a distinct identity despite having a common palette of materiality including marble, wood, glass blocks, steel & hues of paint. The furniture scheme was curated in association with Differniture and was made of reclaimed wood, thereby keeping the strain of sustainability alive in the project.

The project derives inspiration from the structural design principles of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc & Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre. The essence of these design derivations is translated into contemporary nuances that form the flesh & bone of the project. The House Between a Well & a Light Tower is a model for urban development in the rapidly transforming fabric of Delhi.