Special Mention Note:
This weekend residence by Ramu Katakam in Srirangapatnam is built with an eye for beauty, simplicity and restraint. In contemporary architecture, there is very little discussion on the core fundamentals of beauty – what makes architecture pleasing to the eye?
The plan of the house [reminiscent of Villa Rotonda by Palladio] is a simple symmetric arrangement of rooms in two layers on a plinth that is devoid of any levels. The corner rooms jut out of the plan creating variation in the elevation thus enabling the architect to break the monotony of the composition. In its context and location, the colourful building sits as an object with powerful visual attributes. The levels of sills and lintels are symmetric but with some graphic adjustment, break the repetition. The architect composes the house with frugal materials and available skill.
While the verandah creates a second-skin that connects that sanctum to the exposed podium, the podium extends into the landscape and is perhaps a generous level to sit on and appreciate the agrarian surroundings. But the plinth stands independent of the landscape and clearly separates the house from the fields. The walls are painted over a plaster with simple motifs in the surface cement render giving them a tactile texture. In a modest scale and budget, the architect is able to create a sense of surprise.
While the project has a visible hand of the architect who has a genuine visual command, the house relies on an aesthetic of the past to make that impact, and while it borrows eloquently from the past, does it miss out on a contemporary voice?
The project is a study in use sophisticated architectural judgements in scale, form, space and colour in creation of a beautiful building at ease in its serene visual element. It also makes an argument for beauty as a core value in composing architecture [a value that is quickly diminishing in its importance in discussion on contemporary architecture] and therefore, Hole Mane by Ramu Katakam at Srirangapatnam is a Special Mention in The Merit List.
Architect: Katakam and Associates
Project Design Team: Ramu Katakam
Site Area: 14000 sqm
Built-up Area: 250 sqm
Client: Jagdhish Narayan
Structural Consultants: Jagdhish Narayan
Landscape: Ramu Katakam
Contractor: Jagdhish Narayan
Year of Commencement-Completion: 2011-12
Photographs: Clare Arni