KOCHI: Architect Jayadev Keshavankutty’s Kochi-based architecture and interior design firm J. has been designing spaces that are a class apart, since 2009. His latest work, a 6,500-sqft residence in Aloor, near Irinjalakkuda is a thoughtfully designed courtyard house which merges with the rural settings even while offering its inhabitants all the comforts of modern living.
The entry sequence to the house is almost ceremonial. A shaded pathway leads to the ‘poomukham,’ which has a door opening to the courtyard.”For a visitor to the house, the transition from sunlight to shade is through the pathway, which also creates a sense of suspense to see the insides,” says Jayadev.
Design characteristics unique to the Kerala style of architecture have been adopted and improved upon in this house, making it a climate-responsive architecture. The sloped terracotta tile roofing, wooden shutters used for windows are examples of this.
“The terracotta tiles reflect heat, making interiors cooler. Factors such as safety and water leakage saw people losing interest in it . So special care was taken to improve upon these aspects. The thick wooden shutters for windows lets in very controlled light when closed. Open the shutters and cross ventilation and light is ensured.” says Jayadev.
The house with a courtyard, living room, dining area, four bedrooms, kitchen and intelligently designed open spaces is elegance at its best. The curated interiors have ceilings done in terracotta and wood, large format tile flooring and custom designed metal light fixtures. "A space is defined by the light that comes in. In tropical areas where a lot of heat comes in with the light, large open spaces in the house make for uncomfortable settings. Hence, designing apertures to let in controlled light, is the key to striking a balance. The play of light brings an aesthetic appeal to the home," says Jayadev.
A verandah accessible from the dining area, designed as a patio with a low roof forms a comfortable reading nook. The in-between space, which is neither inside nor outside, lets in enough light without being overexposed. Another such open space, the bedroom patio with an adjacent garden space, has been left open to the sky with a pergola. While Jayadev describes his design principle as one that takes into consideration the client’s aspirations and brings it into life within a functional and aesthetic framework, some aspects of the house are a touch of his own.
The terracotta tile with their fungal patina, is a throwback to the ancestral homes of our childhood. The wooden eaves of the roofing have been left unprotected. "Not every element has to be protected. Some have to be allowed to weather under the sun and rain, let it age gracefully. These elements are important in design," Jayadev adds. He has to his credit awards from national and state forums, including the IIA National Award for Excellence in Architecture.