Residence at Edakkarra, Nilambur, Kerala
Folding doors, flexible rooms, foyers and inner courtyards and a river for every room! The residence at Edakkara, Nilambur, Kerala is a wonder-tale full of twists and turns.
How would it be if you could join some of your rooms and conduct a grand party with ease? Sounds incredible? That’s what exactly makes this 3,200 sq.ft house in Nilambur curious. An actively social person with guests clamouring all year through at his residence, one of the major requisitions of the client was huge social spaces without adding to the number of rooms or the budget. Hence, major rooms were planned in such a way so they could be combined together to a single space for meeting and gatherings. The house with its blend of English and Kerala architecture entertains 4 bedrooms with balconies, a living room and balcony, dining room, kitchen, work area/store, family living room etc. with foyers and inner courtyards as well.
All bedrooms have clear sliding doors which opens to balconies with a river view another major demand of the client. The house is designed in such a way that each major space sports a breath-taking view of the beautiful river that flows beside the house. Near the waterfront, there are balconies and outdoor spaces in split levels for relaxation and drink in the fresh river breeze. Five balconies overlooking the river was a challenge for the architect to work around an area of 3,200 sq.ft and to fit in the client’s budget.
Flexibility is achieved by combining bedrooms which has either sliding or folding doors with milky glass for privacy and vast spaces like living and dining to conduct big functions. Each space has been impeccably designed with adequate light and ventilation. Utility spaces are segregated to serve the function and for easy circulation of air and light. Public spaces, semipublic spaces, private spaces and service spaces are separated effectively. Foyer forms the transition between visitors’ space and the dining. The house is designed with interesting pergola courtyards. The front courtyard ushers in the visitors while another one on the riverside engages them on casual meetings or formal gatherings.
Various interesting elements from colonial architecture like pivoted & large arched windows, dormer windows, long pitched roofs, wooden gate, long pillared verandahs with wooden trellis above, curved wooden stairs with raised staircase room tower etc., are beautifully incorporated. Colonial handrails, trellis, coloured glass etc., are used for exteriors as well as interiors. Deep overhangs with long and high-sloped pitched roof arranged linearly in traditional Kerala style protects from heavy rainfall and heat.
The elevation on both sides of the building as well as inside is designed to make it aesthetically appealing. Living room and foyer with double height and skylight ensure natural light through late evenings. Curved stairs save space inside. Colours such as grey, natural brick, white and green terracotta roof with plain glassworks in the exterior make the house simple and natural. Subtle colours of yellow, white, grey, single coloured wooden patterned vitrified flooring are used for interiors. The kitchen is a combination of white and grey for simplicity.
Cost reduction is achieved through an open flexible plan with minimal windows, Ferro cement walls, windows from less expensive wood and painted, single colour flooring and careful selection of materials and skilled labour. Rainwater harvesting and water recycling are used. Use of solar panels for heating and landscape, skylighted areas which bring natural light inside reduces electricity bills. This house is fully cross ventilated and lighted with large windows and skylights/ dormer windows, sliding doors with a full view towards the river. Maximum light and ventilation are brought inside through large glazed arch windows and doors, skylights etc.
At every point and phase of construction, it was noted and ensured that the house should blend with the environment and respect the culture, heritage and climate. The topography of the land was kept in mind while planning and construction. Natural and locally available materials such as exposed brick, exposed granite stone and natural stone are used on the exteriors. As the plot is linear in shape, the house is designed linear and gives a grand look from the National Highway in the front and from the river banks. The house remains a landmark in the region.