The Urban Green Home is located on the 3rd and 4th floor of a newly developed apartment building in a dense urban neighbourhood of Mumbai. This part of the city has seen many bungalows transforming into narrow apartment buildings. These building seem to almost hug each other shoulder to shoulder.
The earlier suburban quality of bungalows surrounded by green has mostly been lost in this transformation. Therefore a large part of the process of designing the apartment was about redefining the relation of the interior spaces with the outdoors. Along with the architects of the building we decided to include a courtyard in the centre of the duplex apartment.
The client could have easily chosen to maximise the floor area, but declined to do so. Instead they agreed to opt to dedicate a large portion of their home to an outdoor space. In a city where new apartment buildings are designed mostly as glass towers, without balconies and limited possibilities of opening windows, this was a wise decision.
So the courtyard became the central element of the house. It wasn’t an actual courtyard in its true sense. Because by definition a courtyard is a space that is surrounded by rooms but that is open to the sky. Obviously in the middle of an apartment building you are not able to accommodate an open to sky courtyard. But we wanted to find a way to could re-create the sense of a courtyard and it’s qualities. Introduce light, ventilation, a social interactive space and visual transparency and connectivity across the house. Therefore we asked ourselves how we could redefine a courtyard within an apartment building in a dense urban neighbourhood.
So after we established this, most of the dialogue was around this one space. How would it act as an anchor to the house? Instead of placing a double height outdoor space on the side, facing the street, (what usually is done), here we placed the courtyard in the centre of the plan.
The double height courtyard greets you when you enter the Urban Green Home. The variations in shades, textures and tones of the stone floor washes this space in greenness. Grasses intersperse along with a tall fiddle leaf fig plant in the central space. Since the apartment is located on the third and fourth storey of the building, it also benefits from being at the level of treetops. The courtyard and verandah space therefore extend the green visual element beyond to the tree.
We envisioned the common areas of the lower level of the urban green home as a more fluid space. Spaces extend into each other visually. However it is not a complete “open plan” layout. Instead we wanted to avoid revealing each space completely at first glance. By arranging the floor plan in such a manner that there is never a full overview of the apartment, it creates a sense of curiosity of what lays beyond.
The upper level contains a series of rooms that open up to a central family room, which in turn overlooks the double height courtyard. Therefore the courtyard really anchors the house. Steel framed windows surround the courtyard. They make the two levels speak to each other, and appear the house as one cohesive unit.
Urban Green Home
Courtyard, Spatial Experience, Light, Typology
Interior of duplex apartment
The double height space of the Urban Green Home with four hanging lamps placed symmetrically around the tree, in natural cane and cotton rope
The layout of the space has an island centred to the double height space with a concrete table centred to the space. This space on one side has a covered verandah dotted with a pair of chairs and plants and on the other the main living room.
Floor to ceiling industrial steel windows enclose the courtyard. These slide and fold to become one with the living room and slide into a pocket to further open into the tv room.
Both the lower and upper floor have the south facing wall in exposed brick. This together with the industrial metal windows and concrete floor give the apartment the feel of a modern day loft apartment.
The living room extends into the informal tv room overlooking a dense Gulmohar tree. Hence the green in the space extends from end to end and beyond the confines of the walls of the house.
The tv room is an informal space with a large built in day bed for the kids to watch tv while parents enjoy the outdoor space.
Warm concrete flooring seamlessly connects all rooms on the lower.
The seamless extensions of the living room open to a lower height dining room. Additionally it opens to an open kitchen island with a hob and grill. These ancillary spaces have their own openings outside and therefore keep these spaces flooded with light.
A black stone counter in Dekton stone and oak wood makes up the central island of the kitchen.
A black finished Delta kitchen faucet with matching drinking water tap
The dining room of the Urban Green Home is washed with light and surrounded by greenery
A minimal folded MS plate staircase with solid white ooak timber threads. A cascading light fitting takes you to the floor above where a family room greets you.
On the floor above the guest room is in a monotone green. It continues in the ceiling through the courtyard ceiling and into the family room ceiling. On the other side a monotone guest room in a warm olive green can be approached with a sliding metal door.
A passage with storage cupboards and a countertop displaying family photos leads you to the bedroom space.
A Murphy bed tucked away into the wall allows you to use the floor space for yoga when the space is not used by guests.
The master wardrobe in a dark oak veneer complements the natural oak floor.
The master bathroom in contrast is a white marble with subtle veins of grey and warmer tones showing through. The book matched marble book creates an engaging pattern. The bathroom comprises of his and hers vanities, a dual shower and a built in bathtub.