When Surat-based architect Ankit Parekh of Parekh Collaborative was asked to design a family home in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, one of the prerequisites was for a comfortably cool residence without air conditioning. In response, Parekh turned to ancient, low-tech methods for natural cooling, from decorative yet functional jali screens to stack ventilation. As a result, the house, named Rambaugh, maintains a temperature variation of 6 to 8 degrees year-round.
Crafted with a contemporary appearance rooted in traditional techniques, Rambaugh was designed to house a family of six in Burhanpur. Slightly over 20,000 square feet in size, the residence includes ample space for large gatherings — the client’s extended family lives in the same precinct — and celebrates indoor-outdoor living. Shared communal areas flanked by green space form the heart of the two-story home, from the open-plan living room and dining area bookended by courtyards on the ground floor to the lounge that opens up to a lower terrace on the first floor. The formal living room and kitchen are cordoned off in opposite corners of the home. The master bedroom and two other bedrooms are located on the ground floor, while two additional bedrooms can be found upstairs.
A solar site study informed the orientation of the building and the placement of openings that, combined with mechanically operated turbulators, take advantage of stack ventilation. The stone jali (a traditional, perforated, decorative screen) was hand-cut on site and installed on the southwest side of the home to deflect unwanted solar gain. A large existing Tamarind tree on the southeast of the site provides additional shade. The layout of the house also promotes natural ventilation and access to ample daylight. Moreover, rainwater is harvested and reused in the home.
“The house is picturesque from all the sides because of ample appreciation space around it,” Parekh Collaborative noted. “This space is well designed with landscape elements and complements the house exteriors. A textured crimson block abutting a white mass on the side adds to iconic imagery of the house in abstraction. A dialogue between the house and landscape is generated using Mughal garden patterns.”
Images by Nachiket Gujar