House with Balls, Ahmedabad Property, India

House with Balls, Ahmedabad Home, Indian Property, Building, Photos, Design, Pictures

House with Balls, Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad Residential Project: New Property – design by Matharoo Associates, India

27 Oct 2010

House with Balls, Ahmedabad

Design : Matharoo Associates

THE MAKING OF HOUSE WITH BALLS

The Given

The starting point in the derivation of this house for an aquarium shop owner is the 600 sq-yard plot and the east sun. The program asked for four separate fish breeding tanks, an observatory which could double up as weekend living space, a private sleeping area and a caretaker’s suite. All with a provision of biogas, rainwater collection for fishes and provision for earth tube exchanger to be installed later. The total cost of the project was not to increase $12,000 ($100 per square meter) Self-imposed development restrictions have been to keep at least 50% of the plot green, the compound wall and the 10’ mandatory margin gets used in installing the 4 fish tanks, parking, 172 square feet (16 m2) allowable caretakers room is turned into sleeping quarters in the same margin space.

House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad

The Program
From the mandatory margins emerged a single long bay of 12’ width. Resting half-sunken under the ground level, this bay is built on a submerged raft negating the need for foundations; by doing this the long concrete-box made of 125 mm think walls splits the plot space into two distinct spaces. The walls of the plot and box are used as a retention structure for the tanks which uses up the normally non-operational space for one of the main aspects of the program – the fish breeding tanks. These tanks are enclosed by glass windows which run the entire length of the living space, the added bonus being that the glass works out cheaper than a concrete wall, more so for aquarium manufacturers!

House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad

The Solution
The box is opened out to the tanks and the landscape around through windows which can be opened to either of these two spaces by top hung metal shutters which extend at eye level throughout the entire length of the walls. When closed it is a 13m long and 3.6m wide space rendered by the light through the fish tanks. On opening the shutters this distinct linear space transforms completely into an infinite one continuously mingling with and perpendicular to its original direction.  A system was to be devised in order to have all shutters open at the same time. Since there were no mullions, and solutions like hydraulic struts were ruled out, the simplest solution was to find an equivalent counter weight balance mechanism. Like in the building, concrete was seen fit, and it was the cheapest available and is theft proof. Cheap plastic balls of the same volume were used to cast the baubles, costing 15 cents apiece. The balls are in view when the windows are partially open they are in view, but disappear when the windows are fully open, leaving only 3mm strings hardly visible to the naked eye. The baubles either swing in the wind when windows are partially open or dip out of view into the lily padded pools when the windows are fully open making the house animated in use or even without.

House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad

A ramp was necessary to allow access to the terrace of the house, which didn’t fit in the space available and so it was curved to fit. The house assumes a squat position and the curving wall to one side allows one to walk up the gentle slope on to the terrace running over the length of the house. Rainwater is harvested throughout the year to be used for the fish tanks and space made by this curving wall is used as a rainwater collection tank permitting fifty thousand liters of water storage, manually dug by local well-diggers.

The emotion

Adding more interest to the delightful house, the concrete frame around the window plays multiple roles; as a seat from the garden side, steps for children to climb on from the garden or jump to from the terrace, a weather protection device while also providing a rat & snake proof section. It starts serving as a bar counter with the attached kitchen platform for larger gatherings. The grassy knoll that rises in front of the long opening bears under it a manually operated bio-gas plant, and an earth heat exchange tube. On entering the house one steps up into a corridor opening to a small powder room on the left, followed by a choice to either take the left into the bedroom, or to carry on down directly into the long living-space. The layout of the house is such that the services are clubbed into one naturally-lit duct.

The living areas are offered several differing views of the water bodies; in the bedroom space, the sitting ledge is just above the water level and looks down the long length of the pools; while the living space affords the inhabitant an uninterrupted view over the tanks when the windows are open, and view of the fish through below-the-sill glass windows. The weekenders enjoy the feeling of floating over a bed of lily petals while being weighed down by the baubles.

House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad

THE $100 per SQM HOUSE WITH BALLS
Scooped out of a plot of farmland twenty minutes outside Ahmedabad city, this house has been built for an aquarium shop owner to function as a place to breed fish as well as to serve as a weekend retreat. Its design is centred around four fish breeding tanks and an observation room which could double up as a living room. Every aspect of this design is set out to strip expense from the project; be it using 125mm thin concrete walls with standard concrete, one duct space for its three bathrooms, doors and windows made by pressing GI sheets or using bent rods to function as a handle and locking aldrop.

On approaching the entry from the country lane one finds the entrance nondescript and hidden in the scrub. The mandatory margin required is used for the tank space – while the walls of the plot and house are used as a retention structure for the tanks. These tanks are enclosed by glass windows which runs the entire length of the living space, the added bonus being that the glass works out cheaper than a concrete wall, more so for aquarium manufacturers!

On entering the house one steps up into a corridor opening to a small powder room on the left, followed by a choice to either take the left into the bedroom, or to carry on down directly into the long living space. The layout of the house is such that several differing views of the water bodies are provided; in the bedroom space, the sitting ledge is just above the water level and looks down the long length of the pools; while the living space affords the inhabitant an uninterrupted view over the tanks when the windows are open, and view of the fish through below-the-sill glass windows.

House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad

Resting half-sunken under the ground level, negating the need for foundations, the long concrete-box house splits the plot space into two distinct yet continuously mingling spaces; it opens on one side to the garden and to the four nine thousand litre fish breeding tanks on the other. The living area can be opened to either of these two spaces by top hung metal shutters which extend at eye level through the entire length of the walls. When closed it is a 13m long and 3.6m wide space rendered by the light through the fish tanks. On opening the shutters this linear space transforms completely into an infinite one perpendicular to its original direction. The metal shutters are held by handmade concrete baubles, the cheapest counterweights possible; they either swing in the wind when windows are partially open or dip out of view into the lily padded pools when the windows are fully open making the house animated in use or even without.

The concrete frame around the window plays multiple roles; as a seat from the garden side, steps for children to climb on from the garden or jump to from the terrace, a weather protection device while also providing a rat & snake proof section. It starts serving as a bar counter with the attached kitchen platform for larger gatherings. The grassy knoll that rises in front of the long opening bears under it a bio-gas plant, fifty thousand litres of rain water storage, and an earth heat exchange tube. Back through the shrubbery and fields the house assumes a squat position; the curving wall to one side allows one to walk up a gentle slope on to the terrace running over the length of the house. The weekenders enjoy the feeling of floating over a bed of lily petals while being weighed down by the baubles.

House with Balls, Ahmedabad House with Balls, Ahmedabad

Text: Rhys Williams

House with Balls, Ahmedabad images / information from Matharoo Associates

Matharoo Associates


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