Domus 30 is a residential project designed by Chaukor Studio Ghaziabad on the core principles of the classical style of architecture. The house is situated on a plot size of 600sqyards and allows for green landscaped spaces on all sides. This in turn enables the building to be open from all sides and maximizes the intake of natural light in all the interior spaces. Natural daylight and greens are the two fundamental characteristics that are required to make a building complete when designed on the lines of the classical era. The house is planned with three individual floors for the three family units. This allows for all the family members to have common congregational spaces while maintaining the privacy of their individual smaller family units.
Location: Surya Nagar, Ghaziabad
Structural Consultant: EBI India
Design Style: Classical Villa design
Each of the three family units has a distinctive functional requirement which in turn changes the need and type of space required. This allows for the building volume to recede and create a terraced format in the elevation. Not only does this increase terraces and green areas on the upper floors, but the receding in design also allows for a very interesting play of volume and building elevation. There is a complex interplay of built volumes at work. A mix of single, double, and even triple heightened elements are formed which provides a palatial / Colonial proportion to the house while the individual terraces provide a humane scale to space. To further create interest in the building mass, elements like minarets, hanging balconies, and sloping roofs are integrated into the overall building volume. Hanging balconies and terraces at multiple levels provide innumerous opportunities to add green planters and elements into the building facade. This allows inhabitants of each floor to have direct access to open areas, greens, and ample daylight.
Window fenestrations play a very critical role in such designs as they are responsible for not only bringing in natural light but also add a delicate interface to the monolithic classical structure of the villa. Opening sizes of the windows are designed in proportion to the building structure inline with what is found in colonial-style houses. Some window openings are kept exceptionally large while some are designed to create punctures into the monolithic mass. Similar to the interplay of the building volume, windows too are designed and placed in cross-combinations to each other across the complete building facade. Larger arched windows are placed at very critical places to divert maximum attention to that part of the building while smaller linear windows are used to guide the eye around and across the building elevation. Larger arched window openings are divided with mullions and members to add a character of scale and intricacy to the window panes. These frames within the window openings not only add a taste of the classical era to the building but also create interesting viewing angles for the inhabitants looking outside.
The house is termed Domus, and it dates back to Roman times which were the much-desired dwelling unit of the classical era. A Domus generally depicted a single-family house of palatial proportions while maintaining the pleasures of simple living. Natural light and greens are given a lot of significance in the overall experience of the space. Large windows fenestrations (generally arched) provide ample daylight into the interior spaces thus making the spaces grand and experiential. To further accentuate the essence of palatial grandeur, the ceilings are kept high and decorated with minimal detailing to create large volumes of space filled with natural daylight. The exterior and interior materials finishes are kept minimal and monochromatic thus shifting the focus of the viewer to the overall experience and not to a particular space or feature.
With a large volume and building mass similar to that of a palace, the house embodies grandeur in its purest form. To further add to it, the internal ceiling heights are also kept higher than conventional with minimal false ceilings and decoration. As the interiors are primarily kept monochromatic and white, the essence of openness and natural light becomes phenomenal. Higher ceiling heights make the interiors spacious and open that creates an environment of immense peace and calmness. Since the core planning and fundamental design of the building embody the essence of classical design, the need to add claddings and additional design features vanishes. The interior design of the space only becomes a continuation of the architectural design. The material finishes become extensions of the natural daylight that floods the interior space.
Only places where the focus of the viewer has to be diverted employ the use of distinctive materials or color pallets. The building elevation for example uses natural red sandstone to define the borders around the large arched openings and give a distinctive character to the volume. In a similar essence, a different tonality of color is used in areas that are either embossed or recessed to make the element more apparent in the building facade.
Classical style in architecture has a very wide chronological timeline and cannot be defined as a specific period in history. Across centuries it has evolved many times, has taken varied forms, and has shaped itself into a universal form. It would not be correct to define the architecture of a certain period or a certain region as the classical style. It is only the virtues and the principles of the building that are created and it possesses that can be termed classical or universal. Any creation that has characteristics that are universal can be largely termed classical. In terms of design, it is an outcome that encapsulates the essence of both function and aesthetics. A design that never gets out-dated thus becomes — Timeless.