A simple, unadorned exterior to Palm Avenue in India belies the depth of thought that went into this multigenerational house by Architecture Discipline.
22 July 2020
Text by Holly Cunneen
Palm Avenue is home to a family of five across three generations. Located in Vasant Kunj, an affluent neighbourhood within New Dehli and at the foothills of the Aravali mountain range, this multigenerational home offers its residents and visitors an atmosphere of restrained luxury and coveted simplicity.
“Wrapped in meticulous timber grids, the exteriors are carefully planned to reflect the gradual ageing process one sees in nature,” say the architects. The pitched roof, notable only from the inside, has multiple large skylights that run the length of the apex, supporting six-metre windows in the formal living and formal dining rooms to let in natural light in the cool winter months. During summer the skylights are covered.
Without appearing gauche or unoriginal, Architecture Discipline’s inspiration found in Villa Petit by Le Corbusier is tastefully acknowledged throughout the interior. Likewise, the four pillars most important to the clients are addressed on numerous occasions throughout the architecture and design. Those being: natural light, clean air, an open floor plan and luxurious interiors.
Upon entry, the ceiling is deliberately kept low. To the left, as one enters the formal living, the ceiling dramatically escalates from seven feet to 22. Glass doors extend six-metres upwards like double-height windows and lead out to the large lawn equipped with toddler play areas and custom seating. Large amounts of natural light flood in from this south end of the block.
Lemongrass and seasonal flowers have been planted along the boundary fences of the property offering both a connection to nature but also inoffensive means of privacy from neighbours and passers-by as the flora grows. Inside the fence herbs and vegetables used frequently are also growing.
Back inside, accessed via a bright blue metal circular staircase, the formal dining room is visually and physically connected to the formal living below. Despite its minimal aesthetic, the dining room can comfortably host up to 40 people. Like the formal living below, this space overlooks the lawn, which is lush and green, a source of calm to counterbalance lively family dinners or dinner parties.
At the bottom of the blue spiral staircase – “inspired by the renowned architect of the modernist movement Pierre Chareau’s dynamic and delicate sense of design” – is a generous basement fitted out as a rec room. “Equipped with a home theatre, giant cellar and replete with storage, it is the perfect extension acoustically treated for loud parties, disconnected from the rest of the house and accessed through an elevator,” say the architects.
The family’s bedrooms are all located at the north end of the ground floor, while two guest bedrooms are upstairs, also at the north end. The kids’ room has a colourful floor and geometric textile designs. The adult rooms are, as you’d expect, larger and more mature. The beds in the adult rooms are oversized and placed on giant platforms, reminiscent of a traditional Indian palang. “The project presented an opportunity to its residents to live in their own diverse ways yet unified in spirit,” say the architects.
Despite a modest build on a sizeable block, three generations to house, and clearly demarcated public and private areas, Palm Avenue offers an extraordinary amount of flexibility to its residents. Flexible partitions and systems can be moulded to increase or decrease space as needed and bare walls offer space for the family to etch their experiences and memories as the years progress.
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