Hubli House: Bangalore Architect: Kembhavi

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The Aravind Kalburgi residence in Hubli is designed by Kembhavi Architecture Foundation.The space is essentially a retreat from the hustle-bustle of a thriving industrial and commercial hub, allowing the owners to find a sanctuary of peace within the fast pace of a city.

Based on fundamental concepts that are part of traditional architecture in India, while embracing the openness and streamlined forms of modern design. Kembhavi is a very well-known architectural firm that was established in 1972. Hubli House

Hubli is the largest commercial and industrial centre in Karnataka, after Bangalore. It is also the cotton capital, and a centre for other agricultural products. This is where Aravind Kalburgi planned on building a cottage-style home. To enable him to realise his vision, he hired Kembhavi architects.

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Kembhavi had earlier designed a 12000 square feet home for the same client, but due to maintenance issues and logistics of a large space, the clients wanted a change. This space was to be considerably different though. This time, the architects were given a specific brief that the new home should be small and compact with more emphasis laid on open verandahs and gardens rather than an enclosed space.

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The façade of the building is designed as a composition of sloped and pyramidal roofs along the lines of a traditional cottage, with large windows drawing in the outdoors and enhancing the concept of a garden home.

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The materials used are earthy and natural, locally available stones, wire-cut bricks, and pot-tiles blended with concrete surfaces. Recycled wood from ancient distillery casks have been used in abundance both in the exterior and interior, highlighting a traditional element while significantly mellowing the modern minimalism of the space.

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The living room is at a lower level and allows for a view of the landscape at eye-level. It is accessed through a bridge along the courtyard.

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The design style is essentially contemporary chic, combined with traditional elements such as wood on the ceiling. The flooring, in marble and wood, complements the white walls, monochromatic furniture and furnishings. Elements of colour are brought in through paintings and embroidered cushions.

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The staircase is an interesting composition visible from almost every corner of the house. The design of the staircase is highly transparent and contemporary, protected by steel cables and simple pipes with Dupont paint. The dining area is warm and inviting, opening out onto the landscaped garden within the stone wall that forms the rear boundary.

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The dining area is slightly elevated and strategically hidden from the living room by a glass partition backed by a curtain of stainless steel strings on the staircase.

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The addition of a fireplace adds a cosy ambience to the space.

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The kitchen serves as an extension to the dining and the white breakfast counter demarcates the two spaces.

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The master bedroom maintains the rhythm of the rest of the house as it is layered on two levels, one is the sleeping area and the other a cosy seating arrangement next to the terrace. The large space has been scaled appropriately with the addition of a semi-glazed partition, wooden ceiling and flooring which serves as a perfect foil to the white brick walls, adding a traditional allure to the modern space.

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The master bathroom has a large frosted glass that allows light to flood the space, and the dark wooden cabinetry is complemented with white tiles and sanitary fixtures.

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Earthy materials like jute, cane and wood work well with the various architectural design elements. Colour is brought in through furnishings, adding a spark of visual interest without dominating the overall space.

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The house is built around openings on both the horizontal and vertical planes, to maximise the sunlight entering the space. Other forms of lighting are essentially subdued and in the background, in an attempt to recreate the sense of an old colonial bungalow.

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The 3722 square feet compact space was crafted to evoke a sense of spaciousness and scale. Retaining a traditional framework, the design of the interior was given a contemporary definition. The low ceilings are designed for ease of access between the two floors of the house.

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The spatial anatomy was designed by Kembhavi along an ‘ open plan philosophy ‘ characterised by a composition of skylight voids, levels, textures and light surfaces. The wooden pergola deck serves as an axial focus, and the vista opens out – fluidly encompassing various spaces like the courtyard, dining area, verandah and the stone wall forming the real boundary of the house.

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The strategically located courtyard divides the various areas without regimentation and forms the heart of the space, highlighting flow of movement within the space.

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The structure has an entrance lobby, spacious living room, dining hall, foyer, kitchen, utility room, puja area, a master bedroom on the first floor, two bedrooms on the ground floor, with attached dressing areas and bathrooms, a hobby room and a service quarter.

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Careful alignment of levels within the house negate the need for a lot of steps that form a part of every conventional staircase. Levels flow seamlessly from one to another. The private spaces are subtly hidden from the core, creating a realm of peace and serenity.