Chromatic House | Archframe Design Awards 2023

Chromatic House’s child-like playfulness derives directly from the clients’ mandate. A young nuclear family of five, they desired a city home for the children to grow up playing together in actively participative care of their parents. So the design arranges the home and a lawn in an oblique, but equal, figure-ground and departs from the urban box-form by referencing a more rural pitched roof form with a long verandah. The bedrooms on the first floor spill onto a large tapered A-frame volume which accommodates a mezzanine lounge and the living, dining and kitchen in an open plan. This volume opens up to the lawn and vegetable garden through a long verandah shaded by a pergola, while the study in the attic whimsically connects with it through a slide tucked under the stairs.

The design is a conversation between whimsy and simplicity: between material vibrancy, play of light and reticent fenestrations, on one hand, and a stark, tapered, singular volume on the other. Tint, patterns and texture of bare concrete and terracotta is meant to infuse youthfulness into a venerable and frugal material palette. The red tinted, concrete in expressed formwork used externally transitions to smooth grey concrete internally. Similarly diagonally patterned yellow brick contrasts with thin-section birch joinery to add delicate warmth to the light filled interior.

Concerned about their resilience to climate change, the parents were equally conscious of the environmental footprint of construction of Chromatic House. The tapering linear form and glare protected windows, aligned to the open lawn and punctured by a fabric shaded open atrium helped orient the house to maximise daylighting and minimise extraneous views and solar thermal heat gain passively. The substantial heating and cooling required in the north Indian semi-arid, semi-humid subtropical climate is actively addressed by an under-floor radiant heating and cooling HVAC system. This low energy system, is the first installation of its kind for a residence in the region, helps ameliorate temperature extremes while allowing the house to be naturally lit and ventilated. Photovoltaics installed on the sloping roof generate energy to be fed back to the grid. Almost half of the site is a lawn meant to soak up runoff from extreme rain incidents that are now quite common in the region. As it transpired, the home’s emphasis on private greens, exclusion of the outside and vibrancy has ameliorated pandemic-induced boredom and isolations. All the building materials used are sourced from within a 300 mile radius from the site. North Indian marbles have been extensively used in the house as opposed to imported stones.

Bronze Winner – Archframe Design Awards 2023
Design Firm – Anagram Architects
Project Title – Chromatic House
Project Category – Private Residential
Status – Built
Architect – Vaibhav Dimri
Profile – Professional Architect
Country – India