Harris Residence by Studio Acis
Studio Acis has designed the Harris Residence in Kanhangad, India. This wonderful contemporary dwelling creates just under 10,000 square feet of minimalist, luxurious living spaces integrated with a pristine landscaping design. Greenery plays a key role in the design of this residence as is immediately noticeable.
Experiencing architecture strengthens one’s sense of being in the world, as it engages multiple human senses, and essentially becomes an extended experience of the self. Perceiving architecture with more than mere vision allows a deeper sense of connection with the built space, and good design must strive to provide this experience to the visitor. For this residence, it was key that the planning cleared away any feeling of detachment, within or outside the residence. With a transition of uncontrolled to controlled landscape, a second skin encasing the house and tackling the senses, a variety of architectural strategies help remove any feeling of disconnection felt within the space.
For a large family, it was key to plan spaces such that they do not seem too distant or cramped. The planning follows the placement of rectangular masses along a grid pattern. Incorporating functions from a naalu-kettu (a traditional house modal of kerala) with a modern outlook, the chuttu verandah (a continuous veranda running along the periphery) acts as a buffer in addition to being used for transition. A second skin was yet another concept introduced to the residence. Something that simplifies the path from the busy streets to the residence. It also serves the building with different ranges of privacy with open spaces, semi-private spaces and complete privacy, in areas it is needed.
In addition to the second skin, the western side is also lined with vegetation. The greens, along with the second skin allow the soft filtered light to enter the interiors. The façade treatment is done based on climate and function. There are provisions of louvres, vertical gardens, jaali for the purpose of privacy, aesthetics and functionality. There is also special consideration given to the landscaping. Outside the second skin, there exists an uncontrolled landscape that then transitions into a controlled landscape inside the second skin.
Harris Residence is a culmination of traditional concepts with a modern outlook. From staying true to the roots by function and incorporating modern elements to enhance the appearance, it can be considered an all-rounder in terms of aesthetics and functionality. With the prominence given to reducing any feeling of detachment, the house is built along with a grid pattern, with precise and careful planning of spaces. Tackling not just the visual sense but the tactile and olfactory, the residence is one that is enhanced by its sensorial nature. And with it, the personal connections.