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RAAS HOUSES, Sanjay Puri Architects


Sanjay Puri Architects, Mumbai

Category: The Best Housing Project Worldwide

Award: Winner

Ras houses is a composition of rectilinear volumes rendered in bright colors derived from the traditional Rajasthani color palette. The design is a contextual response to the desert climate and the culture of Rajasthan in addition to being site-specific and imbibing the old Indian city’s organic character. It is a low-rise housing solution in response to its location, climate & tradition creating a contextual and sustainable design.

Most cities in Rajasthan are identified by color. Jodhpur is known as the blue city with traditional homes in hues of blue lime plaster. Jaisalmer is known as the yellow city for its traditional houses being built of yellow sandstone. Carrying this into the project, the firm has used color as an integral parameter in differentiating volumes as well as identifying circulation spaces interestingly while alluding to the colors of the region. The deconstructed cubes sport varied hues of the sandy region, at different times of the day – visually differentiating the stepped, and recessed volumes as well as identifying circulation spaces. With lighter hues on external walls to reflect heat off the surfaces, and darker tones indoors to create a cooler feel, they add impact to the highly ‘responsive’ design solution.



The project is a series of low-rise volumes set amid open courtyards and landscaped gardens creating 61 executive guest houses, 47 hostels for bachelor accommodation, and 18 studio apartments. Located in Ras, Rajasthan in India, the planning of the internal spaces responds to the desert climate with deeply recessed windows, open and sheltered courtyards naturally ventilated circulation spaces and cross-ventilated living spaces. This contributes to reduced heat gain and naturally cooled interiors.

Each part of this housing development is planned at the existing levels of a contoured site with contour differences of between 3 and 8 meters, resulting in economy of construction, minimal cutting and filling of soil, and a resultant height variation that adds character. The organic layout of the housing is derived from old Indian cities with constantly varying scales and changing axes to imbue individuality to each part of the housing space.

The minimal intervention with the contoured site, low-rise planning, facilitation of natural light and ventilation, reduction of heat gain, water recycling, and rainwater harvesting, use of local labor, fly ash bricks, and use of residual energy from a nearby cement plant render this project economical & sustainable. The total area of 204,719 sq ft was built at a rate of INR 1300 per sq ft (18 USD per sq ft).