Subterranean Ruins

Project Name: Subterranean Ruins
Authors: A Threshold


In the suburban, agrarian context in the urban fringes of Bengaluru, this private house occupies a unique terrain enriched by local vegetation and replete with fauna that no longer finds its place in the city. Embedded in this special landscape, the architecture of the house disappears with the extended walls as the only perceptible elements of human occupation. Taking advantage of the specific tectonic layout of the site, the house is constructed to adapt to a natural depression following the contours of the land. 

Made in a local brick, the loadbearing structure is crafted with available skill and augmented by architectural detail. The spatial strategy to buffer the private spaces of the house from the retaining wall by introducing a depressed circulation liberates the interior space on all sides interspersed with courtyards – a plan with alternating built and open. The existing trees are retained and new vegetation is introduced. The landscape on the roof buffers the internal space from heat and enables the seamless assimilation of the architecture in the landscape with exceptional ease. 

The design also takes advantage of the fertile and benevolent land as the boundaries between built and open, garden and house, the site and the terrain are smudged. Venturing beyond the utility of the space for a residence, the house is offered to the community for gatherings and activities: workshops, exhibitions, meetings and informal congregations. The overtly material-driven idea of sustainable architecture finds its contrast in the frugal yet expressive crafting of this building; sustainability as an expression of space. 

The singular compelling quality of the architecture of this house is its seeming incompleteness; an infinite gesture through a finite work of architecture. In a stark contrast to the indulgent and exhibitionist weekend homes littered around the suburbia, this project represents the potential of architecture to embrace, with exceptional ease and quality, the landscape, the terrain, and the intent: through an expression of generosity and an uncompromising architectural quality, and therefore, Subterranean Ruins by A Threshold is a Citation Project in The Merit List.

Images & Drawings: courtesy A Threshold; Photographs: © Studio Recall, Studio Sohaib, Avinash Ankalge, Akhil.

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