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A Modern Twist To Native Kerala's Vernacular Architecture

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

House Patio by Fourth Wall Architecture:

A house whose design inspiration revolves around the clients lifestyle and still evokes a sense of native Kerala’s vernacular architecture.

Clients are both doctors who had envisioned their house to have spaces to entertain the friends and family yet maintaining the privacy of the household. Residence completed in 2019 has a total buildup area of 3900 sqft. Material palette for the house comprises of Exposed concrete, brick, Laterite blocks, buffed Kadappa flagstones, Kottah stones, Laporte, Nilambur teak, Burma Teak and polished metal sheets. Nilambur teak is used throughout the project in various forms as furniture, Window frames because of its abundant availability in the locality. Majority of the furniture and wall hangs are customized to give the residence its unique interiors.

Picture courtesy: Fourth Wall Architecture

Design intent:

Throughout the design process we have tried to honor the past without compromising functions of a contemporary lifestyle. Effort was put on to a design that gives ‘function’ as a leading factor in spatial planning rather than a form based envelope. Every space keeps up the continuity in terms of circulation and space defining elements. Basic plan has evolved from functional zoning. Living, dining and patio form the public zone, stair room, powder room and the maid room and second patio form the semi-public zone which also acts as a buffer area for the private zone that follows. Carefully planned skylights give an ambient interior lighting throughout the year and minimize the use of artificial lighting at day time. All art pieces for the house is handpicked, monochrome wall hangs are custom made and the paintings on the walls are contribution of the architect.

Picture courtesy: Fourth Wall Architecture

Challenge was to seamlessly blend the vernacular architecture and modern architecture style, where parts of the building have a sense of individuality as the design as whole. Designers have adopted a method called ‘selective luxury’, detailing out only parts of the space that really demand highlighting.

Sustainable measures:

Rain Water Harvesting: Open terrace acts as catchment area for rain water. Rain water thus harvested is filtered and stored in 30000L UG sump located near kitchen; it is used for gardening and filling the Lilly pond during summer months.

Green Pavers: Front yard of the residence is paved with green pavers that let the rain water to the

ground cover and recharges the areas ground water level.

Picture courtesy: Fourth Wall Architecture

Passive Design Measures:

Day lighting: Common areas have carefully placed skylights that give effective interior lighting. Sky lights reduce the need of artificial lighting during daytime thus reducing energy consumption and the anti radiation film on the glass ensures maximum visual comfort.

Natural ventilation: Residence design takes advantage of the season wind patterns of the region.

Window opening have wooden louvers to maintain air passage even when windows are closed. Jallis placed above lintel level help in stack effect and keeping the interiors cooler and reduces the need of mechanical cooling. The skylights provided at common areas have intentional gaps to let the hot air escape.

Material selection: Materials largely used for construction are laterite blocks and wire cut bricks, both abundantly available in the locality and at parts of design these materials are used in their raw form.


Large planters at both sides of the front yard are topped with buffed flagstones to act as

outdoor seating. Slope of the site is used to create Landscaped levels to reach the veranda. Driveway is paved green pavers which break the monotony of otherwise plain ground cover with a touch of green as well as provides hard strata for vehicular we climb-up the levels we get a glimpse of fruit bearing and flowering plants. Landscape includes butterfly hosting and snake repelling plant species.

Main entry to the house is through the Veranda which sits afloat over the Lilly pond. On rainy evenings with a cup of tea in hand,veranda becomes the most happening place in the house. Color, material and craft variations throughout the spaces complete the architectural tapestry.

Picture courtesy: Fourth Wall Architecture


Veranda transits to double height living area which extends to dining and ends at the patio. Each

interior space has a basic color as its theme. Common areas have a aqua blue theme and it is reflected in furniture and articles. Dining table and chairs are made out of Nilambur teak wood and has curvy parametric bench. Patio and light-wells are where the nature invades the interiors of the house.

Dining area leads to kitchen to its right and semipublic areas to the left. Kitchen is given a white avatar with white glossy dado tiles and milky Planilacque paneling on the cabinet doors. Kitchen leads further to utility area and then to right side exit. semi-public zone houses wash, powder room, staircase and maids room. Zone opens up to exterior dock of brick interlay and Kadappa stepping stones. Past the semi-public zone comes the private zone with a 6 feet wide corridor and bedrooms on its both wings.Corridor is well lit with a light well that connects ground floor with the upper level. Staircase is made of perforated SS sheets and SS handrails with teak wood hand rest on top. Stair landing has a light well on top and the area below the first flight of stairs form an elegant pebble court. Climbing the stairs we reach brick walled area of first floor with jallis with a view to outdoor barbecue terrace and luscious planter. Towards the right an interactive reading area sits directly above the dining, which also acts as family living. Moving towards the corridor, two bedrooms are placed on either sides. All bedrooms in the house are designed to have similar spatial arrangement with a king sized bed with teak wood reaper backdrop on a textured wall, a study area and a bay window. All bedrooms have a walk-in wardrobe and

wooden flooring. Each bedroom is assigned with color which gives an identity through the backdrop wall, furniture and articles in the interior.

Picture courtesy: Fourth Wall Architecture

In contrast to the white walls and floors, door and windows are made of Burma Teak. Movable furniture is of teak wood finish. Side tables are topped with Ranthambore tiles. Bedrooms have shades of blue, green, and yellow as its color theme.

Project: House Patio Location: Perinthalmanna, Kerala Firm: Fourth Wall Architecture

Instagram: Design team: Shammi A Shareef, Suhail Kizhissery, Shifas Adeepat Photography: Shahul Shibili, Asadullah Ibrahim (Turtle Arts Photography)

Instagram: Contractor: Shivan constructions Interior contractors : Sajeev, Baldev Metal Fabrication: Alameen Kunjippa Metals Electrical & Plumbing: Shihab Electricals




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