Architecture Discipline’s Palm Avenue: going back to nature in New Delhi
Architecture Discipline is a prize-winning Indian architectural studio that has been based in New Delhi since 2007. The studio designed an independent home in the Vasant Kunj district for a family of five who wanted to get away from the chaotic traffic, concrete and pollution of the city. The district, close to Indira Gandhi International Airport and the place of residence of a number of prominent personalities, is located in an outlying area at the foot of the Aravalli Mountains where, unlike the city centre, residents can have gardens. Palm Avenue is the name of the street where the house was built, to plans by Akshat Bhatt, founder of Architecture Discipline, with Chandni Saxena.
The house is inspired by the forms of Le Corbusier’s well-known Villa Petit, redesigned according to a contemporary vision of ecological sustainability. Architecture Discipline’s Palm Avenue project is in Minimalist style, with simple lines, taking the form of a square volume of elongated shape clad with long horizontal wooden planks. The continuity of the home’s forms is interrupted by an overhanging vertical volume of glass on the top floor providing access to a large terrace. In addition, a second volume two floors high at the back of the building, separate from the home and in a dark colour, contains a first-floor annex above a garage.
Akshat Bhatt says of Palm Avenue: "Divorced from the denotation of pretentious, the blueprints focused on building a house with a strong foundation deep-rooted in the rich history of the family, capable of catering to the present needs and offering plenty of future opportunities. This thought led to the decision of creating a space that is progressive, timeless and still relevant twenty years later".
Architecture Discipline designed Palm Avenue on the basis of four fundamental elements of design: natural light, clean air, a large open space, and luxurious interiors. All to mirror the clients’ character and intentions in the best possible way. Thus natural light flows abundantly into the large double-height open space through generously sized windows on three sides of the home and a large skylight in the roof.
As we enter the home, the suspended ceiling in the entrance is intentionally lowered to just under two metres, creating a spatial effect which takes us, with only a few steps, into a brightly lit living room almost seven metres high, furnished with refined natural materials. The warm hues of wood and the white walls contrast harmoniously with the vibrant blue, yellow and grey furnishings and the black of the finishes, the rafters and columns, and the imposing bookcase covering an entire wall in the first-floor living room.
Raising our eyes, we glimpse a balcony overlooking the living room from the upper level that visually links all the spaces in the home, connected by a picturesque spiral staircase inspired by the designs of French Modernist Pierre Chareau.
Palm Avenue is divided into two parts, public and private, which gradually intersect without a rigid division. In other words, they create a sense of inclusiveness extending out of the space to embrace the visitor. Lastly, a third area of great importance to the household is the garden, where the spices required for traditional Indian cooking are grown, along with citronella and a variety of seasonal blooms.
Over the three years between the start of the project and the conclusion of the work, Akshat Bhatt and Architecture Discipline say they took great care to minimise waste in both design and construction and to ensure that the home would continue to be used for decades to come.
Site Area: 7,000 Sq.Ft.
Built Area: 6000 Sq. Ft.
Location: Gurugram, New Delhi, India
Principal Architect: Akshat Bhatt
Design Team: Chandni Saxena
Electrical Contractors: Lirio Lopez
Structural Engineer: Isha Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Photography: Jeetin Sharma