Societal constructs, climatic responsibility and economic dogmas are realized by this luxury apartment building located in the grand neighborhood of Chennai.
A Luxury Apartment Building that Combines the Nature of Communal-Living with a Sense of Privacy | SJK Architects
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One of the ways in which space-starved cities today can cater to rising populations, while tackling ever-increasing land costs, is multi-storeyed apartment living. However, in metropolis of Chennai, is a luxury apartment building that combines the nature of communal-living with a sense of privacy. The affluent, residential neighborhood, colloquially called “Billionaires’ Row,” continues to be characterized by swanky and independent villas.
With the Boat Club Apartments, SJK Architects set a new precedent for residential design in the locality. The building, standing on a 10,000-square-feet trapezoidal corner plot, offers four 4BHK, duplex apartments. It ranges from 3500 sq.ft to 4500 sq.ft, each with its own private entry on separate levels. The apartments provide naturally-lit and ventilated spaces that provide residents privacy along with the opportunity to socialise and connect with nature.
Balancing Connection and Privacy – Villas in the Sky
The design of the apartments unites the communal aspect of apartment living with the private nature of independently-owned villas.
The building is a five-storey structure with parking at the lowermost level and four duplex apartments on the floors above. The arrangement of the apartments interlock around a central core, such that each level houses two residential units. Assessment of every duplex is from a personal entry on separate floors, creating villas in the sky.
The central core is a sun-filled atrium, comprising an elevator and a staircase with deep slabs for landings at all levels. It becomes the public heart of the building, encouraging the residents to soak in light, exercise, and commune with neighbors.
Unlike most luxury apartment buildings where separate verticals are provided for supporting staff – the country still remains divided on socio-economic lines. The architects have consciously chosen to allow movement through a central core to encourage a more inclusive way of living.
Using Vastu Shastra to Aid Spatial Planning
The principles of Vastu Shastra determine the layouts of the units, a traditional system of architecture based on ancient wisdom, which many believe attracts positive cosmic energy.
A stringent requirement from the building owner, this guided the placement and orientation of different spaces. The master bedrooms are located on the southwest and the kitchens on the northwest and southeast, and all other spaces swivel around it. Further, orientation of the entry doors are towards the north, and the position of the beds are in the east-west direction.
Inviting Daylight and Enabling Thermal Comfort
The intensity of Chennai’s heat, humidity and rain is difficult to reign in with high-performance windows and sealants. As a result, transitional spaces are essential to temper the extreme weather conditions, while bringing in light and fresh air.
In the traditional coastal homes of Chennai, people would spend their days lying somewhere between the inside and the outside. These include internal courtyards, and semi-open spaces shaded by sloping overhangs, the most conspicuous of which is the verandah. The courtyard translates into a mechanically ventilated central atrium, horizontal projections into chajjas (overhangs), and verandahs into balconies.
The balconies connect the residents with the magnificent view of the surrounding raintrees, and allow in pleasant coastal winds. While builders typically provide only a small 4-feet-deep balcony, as permitted by Chennai’s development control rules, the architects have an additional depth of 4 feet for the balconies. The resulting 8-feet-deep balconies can accommodate a seating, allowing people to sit, relax and enjoy the view.
The design of balcony windows consist of openable teakwood shutters and fixed to allow light and wind while preventing dust. In addition, recessed casement windows within each duplex unit ensure cross-ventilation, thus offering respite from humidity. The installation of doors and windows is with pleated, side-slide mosquito meshes and shutters to keep insects out.
On the façade, projections and recesses repeat at alternate levels, generating a playful exterior that engages with the streets.
Sadarhalli Grey Granite covers the facade, which insulates the building by creating a 40 mm wide air gap. Hence, it leads to a temperature drop of at least four degrees celsius between the outside and the inside.
Restrained Material Palette to Exude Luxury
Expression of luxury at the Boat Club Apartments building, is through a minimal aesthetic, comprising a limited selection of meticulously-finished materials.
Furthermore, Sadarhalli Grey Granite dominates as a finish throughout, pushing boundaries in the application of a single material. The application of stone is on floors, in flutes on the atrium, the boundary walls, and wall cladding on the façade. Whites and greys of the stone bathes the exterior, and browns of the timber, finished with precision.
Designed by: SJK Architects
Project Type: Residential Architecture Design
Project Name: Boat Club Apartments
Location: Chennai, India
Year Built: September 2020
Built-up Area: 23680.6 Sq.ft
Team Design Credits: Shimul Javeri Kadri, Sarika Shetty, Bhavin Patel, Nikita Shahadadpuri, Riddhi Shah & Priyata Bosamia
Photograph Courtesy: Niveditaa Gupta
Products/Materials/Vendors: Sanitary Fittings – Grohe India Pvt Ltd / Sanitary Fixtures/ceramic ware & Accessories -Kohler India Pvt Ltd / Spotboy, AbbyiKapp – Abby Lighting / Surface mounted Lights – Hazel Lighting / Exterior Light fixtures -K-LiTE / Glass & False ceilings – Saint Gobain India & Gyproc India / Cement – Ultratech cement / Air Conditioners – Daikin VRV Units / Diesel Generators – Caterpillar Diesel Generators / Electrical Wires – Finolex & Polycab / Tile Italia – Marazzi porcelain marble slabs, Akar Granites, S-World Floors
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