The farmhouse typology is one that is increasing in popularity with homeowners consciously seeking an escape from the bustle of urban living, looking to live a healthier lifestyle in tune with nature. From the Philip Johnson Glass House to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavillion, architecture has long been engaged in the challenge of creating shelters that are at once secure yet strike an inseparable bond with their surroundings. As needs and standards of living evolve, a contemporary farmhouse comes with the mandate of enabling this bond with its surroundings without sacrificing the comfort and amenities of modern-day living. In the climatic context of India, one of the challenges we face here is to devise a way in which the outdoors can be woven into the living experience without compromising on thermal comfort.
The design of the Farmhouses in South West New Delhi is an experiment in achieving this central idea. Set within a 2.5-acre plot, five sister homes are developed for the same family by team3. The property allows for a high level of privacy and security, allowing for each home to truly open out onto its verdant landscape. The homes form a canvas of exploration, celebrating multiple dialogues between the built and its environment.
The brief for the farmhouses called for Vastu-compliant homes that catered to the lifestyle of families that love to entertain. To achieve this, a clear distinction between private and public space forms a defining factor driving the planning.
For instance, in Farmhouse 1, an expansive living and dining space opens onto a deck that further abuts a pool set within the verdant landscape. The configuration allows for the glazing to be opened up so that the shared spaces encompass the site working as a cohesive unit for entertaining. Landscaped courts help navigate the level difference between the ground level and the basement, which houses an entertainment lounge, a home theatre and a gym.
These wings of the home comprise its public sphere and is pivoted to the private with an internal court beyond which the kitchen and master bedrooms are planned. The court also works to interrupt the interior space with a pocket of green, bringing light and greenery deep into the interiors. The upper level of the homes house the bedrooms, each opening onto large balconies or terraces, easing the transition between the indoors and the outdoors.
The external form of the farmhouse features clean lines and a distinctly modern aesthetic showcasing a restrained, honest palette of natural materials. Details like timber screens, pergolas and external staircases in natural, acetylated wood bring in a sense of warmth and finesse to the bare aesthetic. Glazed openings are leveraged extensively to create imperceptible distinctions between the indoors and the outdoors while allowing the indoor environment to be temperature regulated. Glazed corridors are planned alongside landscaped patches that give one the feeling of moving through nature as one moves from one part of the home to another.
The inset windows, shaded balconies and internal courtyards ensure that the heat gain in the home is minimal, reducing the load on mechanical cooling. The openness and abundance of natural light also keep the dependence on artificial lighting to a minimum during the day. The interior scheme is also kept minimal, with neutral, earthy tones introduced in the marble flooring, letting the framed vistas form the highlight of the scheme.
Through the site, the landscaping is used to create soft boundaries between one house and the other. Private gardens and internal courts are planned with striking landscaped elements that act as focal points, anchoring each space to the site.
Each of the five farmhouses is designed as a framework within which nature can be experienced. The architectural expression itself is explored as a medium for fostering intimate relationships with light, air and greenery. The homes thus address the renewed need of homeowners to seek refuge from the chaos of urban life with farmhouses that celebrate peace and well-being through biophilic design. The scheme explores externalising habitable space, elevating the idea of a conventional dynamic between a home and its setting.
Name of project: The Equilibrium Farmhouses
Location: New Delhi
Client: The Uppal Group
Typology: House, Housing
Principal architect: Sanjay Bhardwaj
Site area (in acres): 2.50
Total Built Up Area(sq ft): 60,000.00
Photographs by: Andre J Fanthome