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Kiron Cheerla, to whom context, client, materials and technology matter
Kiron Cheerla, lead at Kiron Cheerla Architecture (kca) is committed to the design of buildings, not just its function, appearance and spatial quality, but also other important factors such as context, client, materials, technology etc.
Kiron Cheerla wanted to become an architect at a very early age and he passed with a gold medal from the school of planning and architecture, J.N.T.University in 1994. He pursued Master of Architecture from University of Texas, at Arlington and later. worked in R.P.G.A. design group in Texas (a small upcoming firm) for year and half before returning to India. While persuing an independent practice, he worked as a local head for a Mumbai based reputed firm (Somaya and Kalappa Consultants), mainly to get experience and work on larger scaled projects. In 2003 he formed an independent practice Kiron Cheerla Architecture.
The firm’s interest is in working critically with the site and coming up with the best possible solution as if the building was always there. The most important quality of their work is the primacy of architectural experience. Their work tries to recall the fundamental elements of architecture, which enables them to work at any scale, with any material, seemingly with any program, ignoring the question of style. The firm is committed first and foremost to building, and always in finding a better way of doing a task for the built end-product.
Here KCA shares with Gallopper “The b house” located in Saikikpuri, Hyderabad.
The Design Team consisted of Kiron Cheerla, Krishna Chaitanya, Shiva Chiriki, Rajesh Balireddy, Aakarsh C.H. among others, while the Structural Design was carried out by Sri Harsha Consulting Engineers (p) Ltd. Other credits go to Madan Lal Sutar and his team for the carpentry, Sunil Sharma for Stone work, Civil, Venkateshvarulu and finally phography, Suresh Sheri.
The site of 44 sq. yards and has a built up area of 5,350 Sq. Ft. It is linear with scattered trees and has neighbours at close proximity. It is located in a low rise urban residential neighbourhood.
The clients, Ashok and Bindu Voodari, wished for a very private home, with a presence of expansive green open space and the experience permeating the interiors. This formed the basis of the design for kca, mainly putting the inhabitants close to nature.
The designer intended to retain the trees right from the preliminary stages of the design, and despite much refinement remained important elements of the finished site. The house is planned around the trees.
The design explores a typology different from a central courtyard type or house in a garden. Both these typologies on closer examination were not fulfilling the set objective of achieving presence of expansive green open space to the extent due linear form of the site. Thus the other typology arrived at was, inclusion of the mandatory setback spaces in the spatial planning.
The setbacks have been used as active spaces & courtyards
The site slopes gradually towards the east, which is expressed in the interiors in the form of gentle level differences, making navigation through the house easier, and at the same time making it an interesting experience.
The entry court, which is part of the setback, is naturally shaded by an existing tree. A low storage unit separates the entrance foyer from the sitting room.
Every room of the house overlooks a green open space.
A high wall built along setbacks form individual courtyard for each room throughout the house maintaining privacy, at the same time allowing for large openings.
All the rooms open on to an external shaded walled courtyard providing sufficient light and privacy at the same time.
The north facade is freed of walls at the floor level to include the landscape setback space within the house. This is the only opening given along the entire length of the north wall in order to maintain privacy and to cut off unsightly views of the adjacent house. (The land was purchased from the owners of the adjacent house)
The balance of lines, angled surfaces, forms and light along with a view of the landscape give the living room a distinctive atmosphere.
The light from north skylight filtering through wood louvers creates visual illusions by making the wall look translucent in some seasons of the year.
A low level window, formed by the dining area being 2 feet lower than the entrance lobby, aligns perfectly at eye level when one sits to dine/
The dining area is comfortably surrounded by greenery from three courts- the dining court, the backyard and the north passage.
A large overhang on the south side creates an outdoor dining area, below the existing large mango tree, creates a spacial delight for the occupants. All south side openings are given deep sunshades/ overhangs to ensure a cooling effect from the afternoon sun.
The kitchen is amply lit through a long window from the dining court and a large opening from the back yard. The kitchen activities spill out on the back yard.
Building around the trees, led the designer to place the puja room outside the house, which did see a fair amount of resistance initially, but worked out for the better as one can walk around the room just like a temple (pradakshinam).
The backyard has been conceived as the primary open space in terms of scale, size and location reminiscent of traditional Indian backyards. The space works as a multiple functional zone and is attached to the dining, puja and the kitchen, where the main household activities take place.
The backyard is separated from the utility for better efficiency. Equal attention was given to detailing of individual elements. Light filters into a bedroom and living room windows through the central skylight.
The form became a direct expression of the spatial plan. Spacious and well lit on the inside, the house looks deceptively solid on the exteriors
An interesting feature in b house is the staircase, which is delicately detailed in ¾” MS clad in wood, only a few support sections reach the floor – making it appear light and weightless.
Double and triple height volumes in the house with glass roof bring the presence of sky.
The clients have two teenage kids, and in keeping with their brief, each bedroom space have been conceived as unique units within a unit, each having a private expansive open space experience.
The transition from public to private spaces, were deliberately made elaborate to enhance the idea of unique units within a unit.
The windows and openings of the house are strategically placed giving due consideration to trees within and around the site.
All opening terraces are perfectly sized and oriented – small windows open to trees, bigger windows and doors open terraces. Terraces are surrounded by trees. A large tree shelters the home theatre terrace.
The deck in the back yard were conceived in wood and metal similar to a machan, as it was critical to ensure the limited size of the courtyard is not further diminished.
Foe the architect the materiality was important to ensure the extensions as a part of landscape and not part of builtscape.