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Big Picture | June 2014

The elemental thought

Architect Gaurav Roy Choudhury uses design to express the need and purpose of the space.
´Be honest to design and observations and most of all, to yourself,´ says Architect Gaurav Roy Choudhury who, in eight years of practice, has already established himself as an architect with a difference. He believes that design is basically an introverted exercise whose manifestation we see outside, but that does not mean we have to constantly look outside to understand it. An architect who believes in spending time and developing an understanding of everything, Roy Choudhury dislikes whimsical and mentally lazy designs. And how to bring your designs to life, is a lesson we attempt to learn from Roy Choudhury through his selected projects...

Ghose House
Bottled up!
At the Ghose house on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Roy Choudhury has created an almost animated space for the family to interact in. Hanging ferro cement screens form the sides of the family room, which is the heart of the house. The skylights and side windows light up as the staircases pierce through along these screens. The family room is suspended in the middle of the building, like a ´light box´ which illuminates and ruminates with it as a catalyst for activity and animation.

The screen is punctuated with thick green glass bottles of the type that is used to store condiments in every kirana store; these bottles light up with the sunlight and cast shadows on the screen that elongate and move with the sun, thus animating the sun inside the house. The bottles also become the emitter of light for the rooms on either side on the first floor and downstairs.

The greenish light creates a grid inside these spaces in the day, with the opposite effect at night. The screen and family room become the most important and yet hidden part of the house that comes to life with its ever changing pulse. Such simple materials, and yet such a magical result!

RK Fabrics
The Moving Bands
RK Fabrics is a renovation project in a very old and neglected part of Bengaluru. The company, which was established at that very place, chose to renovate the existing premises rather than move into a more glossy surrounding. The project and concepts replicate the growth of the company that grew from the third floor to the fifth within this building.

The building was cut from the third to the fifth floor to the terrace, to let light in and exhibit this growth in a more dynamic form. The terrace was turned into a cafeteria for its employees. White bands were chosen to symbolise the company´s growth. They start from the floor as marble bands then become the tables and workstations; moving further, they climb up as wall cladding, connecting all the floors to end up at the terrace. The benevolent, yet aggressive nature of the bands embodies the idea and philosophy of the company as it grew over the years in its business presence. The bands also become elements which take away clutter and give the office a singular look through its dynamic variations.

The Joint Family Penthouse
The Wooden Screen
The Joint Family Penthouse is an apartment designed as a customised social haunt of an engaged joint family. Its transformation from its insipid form of a typical apartment to its new shape is owed to largely to the ´carved hidden volumes´ that the project creates. These volumes house the interactive and social spaces of the house. This hidden volume connects the public spaces of the living, dining, stair seating, children´s play area, family room, and upstairs landing to the bedrooms of the house.

Each member of this vibrant family is given a space within the volume and this is where the house comes alive with the different hues of engagement and ritual. The wooden screen signifies the innards of this volume, which has been carved out of antique recycled wood and left unpolished to symbolise the tradition behind the form of a family.

The Lateral House
Brick Walls
The Lateral House is a simple house which derives its complexity from its boundaries of interface. Its projecting brick walls add character to the house. The walls were assigned the theoretical role of personifying its engagement with the outside world. They appear on the public front face, as seen from the road and the private courtyard. The courtyard is hidden away and experienced only once in the house.

The bonding of these bricks was derived from the inside, adjusted as per the slit windows in the courtyard and then pushed outside in memory of the internal space which is, in essence, an escapist one. It talks about a self- sufficient insular habitat for a young family to grow in. The bricks project out in this contrived bond and cast shadows as per the sun. This becomes the languid expression of the house towards outside, one of recognition but blank as a mirror.

Each of the elements of design mentioned in the project above describes a purpose, and a thoughtful solution to it. Roy Choudhury urges architects to thus think, and then execute, because the success of design is measured by its success in achieving the purpose.

Meet the architects
Firm: Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects, founded in 2006.
Firm specialisation: None, which they like to admit. They like a challenge and believe that they can give everything a good shot.
Design philosophy: A deep understanding of the world around them and where they fit in.
Philosophy towards life: A continuous pursuit of realms of deeper understanding and engagement.
Favourite architect/Designer: Charles Correa, for his clarity of thought towards what we are and Le Corbusier for his insights of what we could become.
Text: Sumisha Gilotra
Contact
Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects, No 4/3,
North Side, DÆcosta Layout, 1st Cross, Cooke Town, Bangalore 560084
Tel: +91 988 671 8779, www.grca.co.in

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