faceboo A Sthira Residence at Kerala

A Sthira Residence at Kerala

June 13, 2022

Sthira reinstates the ethos of a typical Kerala home. It fulfils the user’s aspiration of creating a traditional home encapsulated by modern design sensibilities within 3500 sq ft.

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 © Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

The term ‘Sthira’ indicates the state of being still -standing strong, and how unique and unconventional is it, that glass is chosen as a material to translate this spatially, a material associated with dynamism, fragility, and beauty.  

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© Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

Sthira has been conceptualized as a terrace-level recreational lounge and family space on an already existing family home. The home is set against the typical Kerala landscape of paddy fields and backwaters; hence the integration of nature and curated landscape to create an engaging milieu has been an inherent part of the design. The house becomes a viewpoint that vantages the surroundings. Clear glass and sleek steel members unfold the space effortlessly into the creation of an exterior envelope, but there is no envelope(metaphorically) – and that is the genius of both the designer in imagining the creation and the material which has this very ability of viewing, framing, and seamlessly allowing the users to lounge and live.

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© Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

A focal wall in a traditional Kerala mural greets the visitor, as they enter the lounge through the foyer, reflecting the balance of traditional and contemporary right away. As one moves further, the terrace space unfolds itself as a central space-court with a well-designed landscape and natural features. The full-length glass walls frame the entire courtyard bringing the focus on greenery, providing privacy along with the desired comfort. Nature is not trapped, and humans are not isolated – but are amidst the sun-wind-rain and everything that is nature. 

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© Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

The design comprises a family dining area and lounge, a multipurpose banquet space, a hand-wash section, and a powder bathroom. The slender steel members and glass fenestration that slide as moving components of the structure provide an airy aura to the spaces. This is a refreshing take by the designers especially in a domain and region heavily seeing vernacular traditional materials with all their due merits of course as design elements, A reflection of keeping the ethos - the spirit of nature, the spirit of tradition alive but looking towards newer identities and experimentation.

Material consciousness and design aesthetics find a new language in the form and shape that emerges, as a textured slate stone is used in contrast to glass to absorb the western solar penetration. Glass walls and open layout of the space create expansive volumes of space in the lounge and dining areas, and the wooden furniture pieces provide stability, contrast and as well as visual lightness to the space. 

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© Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

The banquet area and multipurpose hall at the rear of the plan serve as a hosting and meeting place, and a yoga/wellness space. The hand-washing area has been treated beautifully, freeing it from the confines of its single purpose. This part is separated from the main dining room by a breeze-block wall, and a slatted pergola connecting the banquet to the hand-wash section casts changing shadows throughout the day. And while glass as a material is not the highlight of this space, the effects of what glass does is reflected, with dynamism in the design language with the play of light and shadow being an integral element. The breeze block wall at Sthira is emblematic of the rooted earthy tones and interplay of patterned sciography.

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© Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

The powder room mirrors the crossover concept; this space is designed within louvred wooden walls that allow for air and connect it to the surrounding rooms, creating fluid spatial movement. Athangudi tiles stream down the walls and into the floors, providing an immersive environment. The antique vanity console is intriguingly matched with the black metal mirror and pendant chandelier, which creates a unique shadow play in the area.

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© Taliesyn 2016 / All rights reserved

Sthira, this beautiful everyday escapade stands Sthira (strongly rooted) in the face of warm traditionalism sparked by the familial every day, and modern aesthetic design sensibilities. A masterfully designed home that is all about merging the interiors and the outdoors while honouring the magnificent legacy of Kerala design, tactfully keeping glass as a primary narrator. 

Author Profile

Shiza Christie is an Architect - and Urban Designer, an observer of the phenomenon of time, and forever enchanted by the power of words. These days she spends her time deliberating on urban complexities, its constituents, and placemaking.

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