Sheer glass, sheer class

How to build a totally open, expansive residence even on a small site. A look by Nandhini Sundar

To own a sprawling open residence, it is customary to expect the site to be large, expansive. A 30×40 site would be considered ideal for a small tightly fitted residence where the spaces are closed in to afford privacy in a dense neighbourhood. But how about building a totally open, expansive residence measuring 3,200 sq. ft on such a site, where sheer glass marks the walls, permitting a seamless connect to the exteriors? Sounds impossible? Perhaps not.

For, that is exactly what Architect Ganesh Kumar B.K. of Studio 69 built, the four-level structure revealing merely a set of concrete pillars and beams, the ensuing spaces enclosed by sheer glass walls except on the western side, leaving the interiors totally open. The building is designed as an open box with the top floor pulled back so as to avoid the steep vertical expanse.

The house facade | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“The site is located in a cul-de-sac with its immediate neighbours having left a large green patch around its boundaries. We decided to use this to our advantage and designed to bring in the surrounding greens into the interiors”, states Ganesh Kumar about his decision to enclose the building in glass. The structure is totally white, the interiors revealing the materials in their raw natural form, the décor consciously kept simple, minimal. “The raw, neutral palette tones down the structural presence, connecting with nature completely”, points out Kumar.

A large entrance door made of raw solid wood reapers, the wood smoothened merely with sandpaper to reveal its natural grains, marks the entry into the house. The expansive glass-walled interior marks a free flowing living, dining and kitchen area. The lush greens visually filtering into the interiors through the glass walls is complemented by the raw textures of the exposed concrete ceiling. The picture postcard glass walls with their thick green background serve as the artwork in this minimal interior.

Spacious kitchen and dining area | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The green picture postcard glass walls are not confined to the living area and lobby alone but extend to address the kitchen too which enjoys its own fair share of the greens that filter in through the strategically placed glass vents under the ceiling. Similar is the case in the powder room where a strategically placed glass window borrows in the greens without compromising on privacy.

A staircase with black granite steps that stand out starkly against the white background, lead up to level one of the residence which houses two large bedrooms. Given the open design intent, the bedrooms too are ensconced in glass, the interior spaces open to encompass visually the balconies and the exterior landscape. “Blinds prevail to provide privacy only when it is solicited”, observes Kumar. Incidentally, this open concept pervades the wardrobes too featuring in the bedrooms, the shutters marked with sheer glass, leaving the items stored within open to view.

The second level of the residence houses an expansive master bedroom measuring 800 sq. ft with similar design inclination, where glass walls demarcate the interiors from the exteriors. A lush green landscape and waterbody on the open terrace filters in visually through the glass walls, lending the feel of resting in the open.

The bathroom too reveals openness, with skylight and glass walls marking its space, permitting the greens to filter in seamlessly. Interestingly, the entry to this master bedroom begins at level one, at the foot of the staircase, bringing in another differential dimension to the space through the volume created.

The residence also comes with a charming informal lounge placed in the basement where the natural rock formation found on the site was retained and forms the flooring. “The stone floor was retained along with its rough undulations to offer an earthy connect, the raw forms left intact”, adds Kumar. The presence of a raw stone can however be cold on the eye and feet, especially when the space is purported to serve as a cosy lounge. Kumar overcame this by layering a portion of the entry with solid wood reapers that add warmth to the space.

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