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Agam House in Chennai, India by Mawi Design

Project name:
Agam House
Architecture firm:
Mawi Design
Chennai, India
Kavin Kumar Lasa
Principal architect:
Malli Saravanan
Design team:
Malli Saravanan, Venkatesh, Vijay Prakash, Akash Raj, Kanimozhi R
Interior design:
Built area:
3528 ft²
Site area:
1190 ft²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Archetype Consultants
Environmental & MEP:
Tools used:
Brick masonry, concrete, cement finish and wood
Residential › House

Mawi Design: Agam House is a house of epic proportions in Velachery, Chennai. This two storey home strategically addresses Chennai’s hot weather and its dense urban context through an expressive solid facade that makes a bold statement. The project was started with an intent to create a healthy living environment that is refreshing and nurturing for the body and mind. The main challenge was crafting a response to the limited footprint of the site. A design resolution to this challenge involved splitting the volume into a grid of three, a central porous volume of circulation flanked on either sides by solid functional volumes of space.

The resulting volumes become layers of naturally lit intermediate spaces as compositions of opacity and transparency, material or immaterial rendering the spaces immersive. Articulated by Golden proportions, these volumes facilitate a stack effect ventilation performing passive cooling to provide thermal comfort. This arrangement creates an enhanced visual and social dialogue between the inhabitants on various levels providing an enhanced experience to their daily living.

Articulation of depth through a strategic play of openings of different sizes on all floors renders harmony in the flow of spaces. These openings are adorned with a hundred and fifty year old heritage in the form of doors upcycled from the High Court of Pondicherry. The two centuries of expert craftsmanship that stood through time became a facilitator of worlds left to each family member to be folded open to unveil expansive views of the city or closed for privacy.This gateway gives way for the inhabitants desire to retreat from or engage with the world beyond. As an ode to this time, an environment of minimal natural materials acted as a rich tactile backdrop to this heritage.

The palette was an amalgam of exposed masonry, concrete, cement finish and wood with construction techniques such as filler slab roofing and rat trap bond masonry to help ensure a living breathing structure of good thermal comfort. Aimed at providing sustainable comfort, the use of these materials also resulted in a restorative quality of light. Direct and diffused lighting in living and sleeping areas respectively was used to enhance a sense of orientation, and create feelings of safety, delight and visual comfort.

The house thus inspires a state of well-being through its shell stoking awareness of the passing day and all the changes of the season, among the inhabitants. The essence of bringing in restored heritage was subtly echoed in other repurposed elements within the house.

Agam House is a home of centuries anchored in the clients appreciation for both the comfort and joys of living. It was truly humbling to know that it evoked ecstatic feelings on retreating to this house after a long day. The home with its life giving spirit, infuses a sense of wellness in the inhabitants.

By Liliana Alvarez

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