faceboo Kolam House: Glass and Memories Blend in Tropical Paradise in Coimbatore | Saint Gobain

Kolam House: Glass and Memories Blend in Tropical Paradise in Coimbatore

March 14, 2024
Last updated on April 30, 2024

Kolam house, situated in the heart of Coimbatore, is an amalgamation of two very different architectural typologies. The architect has designed her residence with childhood memories of her ancestral home layered over a functional adaptable home that encourages the memories to be special in more ways than one!


the kolam house

The Kolam House (Source: OWM Architecture)

Designed by OWM architects, this home radiates an old-world charm while maintaining practicality at every step reflecting the design values of the firm. As the architect says, it is an example of tropical pragmatic architecture, where the planning of the home weighs the site and the design approach equally.

In gated communities, where villas are situated 6 feet away from each other, Kolam house stands out by balancing privacy and still allowing people to interact with the exteriors. The Garden and courtyards on the north and east sides of the house, recall the tropical architecture in a contemporary way.

view of garden and staircase with balustrade

View of Garden and Staircase with glass balustrade (Source: OWM Architecture)

The design deliberately eliminates elaborately carved interiors, and large hallways leading to small rooms. It combines elements from traditional design with new-age materials like glass. The material palette primarily holds the essence of old wooden carvings, and colours while blending with glass that balances out the conventional idea of an unconventional home.

Use of glass in large lenient openings

Use of glass in large, lenient openings (Source: OWM Architecture)

In material form, the house brings history back to the present. Chettinad architecture used colored glass in entry archways and fenestrations. Traditionally glass was used in design as an aesthetic element but now it has evolved and adapted through various compositions, textures, and finishes. In the context of the Kolam house, it becomes a protagonist and is used both as a structural as well as aesthetic element.

Large solar control glass windows adorn the eastern façade of the house. They face the courtyard allowing one to interact with their surroundings. The collapsible doors open the living area into a garden seamlessly. Here glass plays a significant role in defining the elevation and skin of the home.

As glass connects one to the outdoors, it is also used very creatively in the interiors. The home has a beautiful wooden staircase with the balustrades replaced with glass fitting into the picturesque contemporary and minimalistic palette of the home. The furniture also follows this blended language. The centre table combined an old stone column base with a minimal wooden table top.

Glass opens up the limited site space and contributes to the open plan of the home. The open layout welcomes different activity spaces separated with toughened glass partitions. The living area is separated from the dining with antique refurbished teakwood columns and hand-painted glass louvers. As a canvas, the hand-painted glass partition reminds us of the original tinted glass used in Chettinad architecture.

Dining and living area separated by toughened glass partitions

Dining and living area separated by toughened glass partitions (Source: OWM Architecture)

The home accommodates cosy living spaces for the family with designated workspaces. On the first floor, Ar Soumya Kumar’s home office imitates an Uparegai – Chettinad balconette, a window that maintains interconnectivity between the kitchen, children’s study area, and the workspace.

Chettinad balconette

Uparegai - Chettinad balconette (Source: OWM Architecture)

The home adapts to its surroundings, responding to the climate it sits in. The double-height space helps to channel hot air upwards while the lower portion of the home stays cooler. The natural advantage of having trees on the west helps to keep the temperature down. Fresh mud plaster on the walls complement the green from the courtyards, and limestone flooring completes the picture.

Together with a sense of purpose, these elements weave a narrative of the past, present, and future. The home is a union of the architect's beautiful memories, interwoven with the materials, spaces, and people to make it her own!

Authored by

Radhika is a storyteller first and an architect second. She believes that architecture is a powerful tool to address society. It is one of the easiest forms of art which is directly used and understood by every person, since ages. She is a writing enthusiast, who loves to capture the world and her ideas with pen, paper and lens.




By submitting this form, you agree to our privacy policy.