sunehri bagh redevelopment
The project was the proposal for the re-densification of plots of colonial bungalows that are being used as housing for senior government functionaries in the heart of central Delhi. The programme statement encompasses the public and private functions of the Sunehri Bagh residences. In addition to the main residence, there are support functions accommodated in ancillary buildings: these include a guard station, office, garage, and staff quarters.
The identity and character of the residence was critical - both the significant urban location and symbolic function as accommodation for senior members of the Indian government must be embodied in the design. These residences were to serve as exemplary models of contemporary building technology and environmental engineering. The existing bungalows express an architecture that has proven completely unviable given the local climate; moreover they are cast in the image of a dated colonial architecture. The new residences should reflect an evolution in terms of architectural iconography while fulfilling the mandate of a stately residence. The integration of landscape and architecture - innovative sectional relationships between the earth, the building, the garden, and the sky – may offer a thesis for the design. The scale of the existing bungalows conforms to an approximate datum of 6 meters in elevation. However, this datum reflects a constant relationship with the ground plane. By creating a series of terraced gardens, the massing of the residence may be excavated into the earth, creating a thermal buffer for natural insulation.
This will allow the roof terrace – the traditional multi-purpose space in Indian dwellings – to be accessed as usable space. The residence would then permit some of the private familial functions to be separated – both in section and elevation – from the public areas of the residence. Perhaps the most valuable component and the least architecturally considered design element of the existing bungalows is the landscape. The new residences may be imagined as pavilions in the garden – deftly engaging breeze and light, flora and fauna. By terracing the gardens, the residence may command engaging views; outdoor spaces may be more sensitively designed for both public gathering and private contemplation. The introduction of a water element may create both visual and acoustic relief. The specific materiality for the new residences should remain appropriate to local and contemporary building practices. Some examples of this may be: pre-cast concrete vaults, brick and masonry bearing walls, stone cladding, teak doors and windows, and insulated glazing.