By: Ar. Monish Kumar Siripurapu, ANT Studio
Louis Sullivan’s famous words, “Form follows Function” get a contemporary amendment through the uniquely modern Anahat Farms. Designed by the Delhi-based architectural firm ANT Studio, the architectural intervention stands as its own identity, more than form and more than function. The team of designers led by principal Monish Siripurapu are on a quest to define their own interpretation of ‘Modern Indian Architecture’. With Anahat Farms, they come very close. Owned by a family with a great passion for sports, horse riding and creativity, the stable farm housed a two-bedroom structure with scarcely any regard paid to the site or the surroundings; much like the contemporary concrete forms we are now familiar with, and considered as a ‘modern architecture’.
The architects had a choice, to either build from the ground up or to add another floor and renovate the existing structure. With deep-rooted beliefs in practising sustainability wherever possible, the team decided to avoid the waste of demolishing the house and instead invest in more ecological and experimental architecture. It was crucial to connect the farm and the old building through an ingenious, experimental intervention.
Monish explains, “We firmly believe architecture should have a blend of the past and the future. With the help of computational tools, the design firm was able to align the vernacular of Indian architecture with the new language of fluidity that aims to break the limits of architectural achievements”.
The new floor is designed as a structure that starts from the ground and spirals up to rest on top of the old house, connecting the different elements with each other and the site. The skin of this structure is made up of zinc panels, a durable and effective material against the harsh temperatures of North India.
The louvred panels are fixed at such angles that let in diffused light and ventilation and cut the heat through a visual and physical barrier, but without breaking the framed views available from each room. This barrier also acts as a restriction for the horses to enter the lap pool, which was important so as to avoid the horses hurting themselves.
A unique, sculptural installation greets guests at the entrance of the ground floor, which separates the foyer passage and the living room through a porous, fluidic screen. It is made up of terracotta tiles, recycled from the old roof of the building, reducing site waste as much as possible. The interiors of the existing home were renovated completely so as to provide uniformity in spatial concept throughout the two floors.
The interior design follows a subtly enigmatic palette of exposed material textures. Brick and lime cemented walls paired with terrazzo and polished concrete flooring offer a stark, albeit a comfortable, contrast to the immensely futuristic façade.
This intuitive decision of providing a distinction between the outer ‘form’ and internal ‘function’ followed a strong belief in creating warm and inviting traditional spaces that speak of the family’s childhood homes. Each area presents its own charm even with a similar material palette – an elusive designing manipulation to cater to the personal needs of the occupants.
As Monish explains, “The final form is both open to the environment while being private to the residents. We aimed to achieve pockets of intimacy within the open natural setting, in a building where there are tremendous opportunities to literally open up all walls.” The old house also hosted three trees with beautifully long shoots that were unfortunately confined to facing the exhausts of existing bathrooms.
While designing a new layout, Monish and the team decided to open up the core and introduce a glass-covered courtyard through which the trees rose magnificently through the upper floor as a focal feature for the lobby. “A building should be truthful.” Laurie Baker’s words align perfectly with how Monish and his team felt while designing Anahat Farms. The design intervention embraces the beauty of materials left untouched in all their splendour.
Standing out in an otherwise ordinary urbane neighbourhood, the large futuristic volume comes alive under the gaze of the sky. “Modern Indian architecture for me is melancholy; the elements and materials that invoke emotions of nostalgia from my childhood mixed with the continuous evolutions in building techniques”, he says. Anahat Farms is an ode to experimentation, modernity and the vernacular, founded in inspiration and realised through interpretation.
Location: Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Clients: Vinod Sharma, Managing Director, Deki Electronics, Deepika Sharma
Architecture and Interior Design: Ant Studio
Lead Architect: Monish Siripurapu
Design Team: Ashwyn Motwani, Anushree Wagh, Astha Chopra, Parag Chaudhari, Paras Sood
Building Envelope Systems: VM zinc
Window Manufacturer: NCL Buildtek ltd
Completion Year: 2021
Photographer: Andre J Fanthome, Studio NAC