Project type: SINGLE UNIT RESIDENCE
Client Name: MR. ARSALAN DANISH
Structure Consultant: ABDULNASEEM
Plot size: 2720 sft
Total Covered area: 4000 sft
Completion date: Feb 2011
The site is located in the rather old city of Rawalpindi, next to the capital city of Islamabad developed in the last 4 decades. Most houses in the area were built around 3 decades ago, but this plot of land remained unoccupied.
The busy and congested street lies between commercial areas on both sides. The streets are rather narrow, without footpaths. The houses surrounding the site are all architecturally unpleasant, disproportionately tall structures (usually 2-3 storeys) on small lots, built by construction contractors hired directly to meet the accommodation needs of the owners, without any underlying design philosophy or professional architectural or community considerations.
There is very little un-constructed land surrounding the houses. Fortunately, there was a set of fully grown deciduous trees immediately east of the site. There was also a tree with an odd shaped trunk in the front of the site. The client has a growing family. He wanted 03 bedrooms on the ground floor - one for the couple and one each for his daughter and father. Another 2 bedrooms were needed on the first floor for more kids and a guest bedroom. A special requirement was for a very cozy terrace where he could relax round the year.
Privacy is considered a core value in our society, but it is difficult to achieve it in such a locality, let alone on a terrace. On top of that, integrity of form, a modern cubist style, richness of materials, close interaction between the residents and nature, introverted views, a feeling of open-ness and prevention of claustrophobia are elements of our own architectural style and tradition, which had to be preserved. A small serene patio is sensibly placed to exploit existing site features- Located in the eastern side; it borrows the peaceful view of old deciduous trees in the adjacent plot. The internal planning is strongly introverted so the ground floor living spaces are situated around this patio, directly visible from all circulation areas and the bedrooms as well as the family lounge. On the first floor, a series of terraces also open up in this patio, creating an appealing visual and physical relation of the two levels. A covered terrace situated right on the front of the house facing the busy road has its privacy achieved by surrounding it with wooden louvers, providing good ventilation and maintaining richness of materials in the elevation too.
A roof garden has also been integrated to enhance the ambiance of the terraces.The odd shape of the tree in front of the site was very interesting and radical, so we decided to retain it, against the advice of locals and neighbors. The modern style is expressed by the minimal decoration in the interior, matched with sensitive placement of basic cubic forms with subtle proportions in the exterior. We succeeded in achieving everything the client wanted, reconciling the contradictions, overcoming the limitations of the site and its surroundings, rather exploiting the natural features of the neighboring site to great advantage, while expressing our own style. With simple form and logical response to the site conditions, this modern house clearly stands out in the neighborhood, as a strong architectural statement.