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Twisted façade for Tenkasi home

Photography: Artist Bala Photography.

Tenkasi-based Jamaliah Arkitects has designed the Casa De Abdullah, a residence spanning 2100 sq. ft. Inspired by Bjarke Ingels, the firm built a multi-level home with an artistic sculptural form where light screens through for a visual treat. Twisted rooms are used for the façade, which is surrounded by the landscaped area. Sunlight spreads into the double-height living space, making it pleasant by passing through the courts. Double-height courtyards represent the family’s gratitude and the grandeur of nature, and water bodies and gardens bring in spaciousness and comfort.

Passive energy-efficient methods such as a rat-trap bond, filler slabs, thermal mass, room orientation and placement of openings reduce the building’s heat gain. A huge courtyard at the centre provides sunlight to all spaces on each floor while allowing cool air to enter and hot air to rise up causing buoyancy ventilation.

Rat-trap bond is a modular type of masonry where bricks are placed in a vertical position that creates a cavity in the wall while maintaining the same wall thickness as in a conventional brick masonry wall. It uses fewer bricks and less volume of mortar thus reducing construction costs by 30 per cent. The mortar must be mixed in the right ratio, as sand and cement play a significant role in the bonding of the brick.

Thermal mass is incorporated into a building to absorb heat during the day and release it at night, which dampens the internal air temperature. This mass is typically incorporated into ceilings and walls through concrete or brick. Thermal mass is used in regions where the ambient temperature is high during the day, but low at night – and allows necessary airflow for minimum indoor air quality requirements.

Stack ventilation depends on the temperature difference between the air inside the building and outdoors. Warmer air is lighter than colder air, and two windows placed vertically are opened to allow cooler air. The filler slab is a slab construction technology, where the concrete filler material at the bottom of the slab is replaced as compared to reinforced cement concrete slabs. This consumes less concrete and steel, making it a cost-effective roofing system.

Filler slabs are preferred as they are lighter and low-cost because they consume less concrete and steel as compared to bricks, cellular concrete blocks and tiles. Local materials such as stone and exposed brick reduce construction costs and make buildings more climate-responsive.