Windmills of Your Mind
WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND, Bangalore, India In the city of Bangalore, large housing projects are a fairly new concept. Most of the citizens still prefer an individual residence on a private plot of land. The Challenge for us therefore, was to design a housing project in which the units did not feel like flats – as they are popularly called – but like intimate homes – with the warmth of a garden, personalized spaces and an overall scale that would not be intimidating. The 24 acre property for this project is situated on the edge of a small lake in the heart of India’s Silicon Valley – Bangalore, and is designed mainly with the well-travelled “Global Indian` professional in mind. The program for the development of 1.75 million sft. includes seven 19 storey towers comprising 152 simplex units of 2500 sft. each, 160 duplex units of 5924 sft & 20 triplex units of 7648 sft., and a cluster of 67 earth sheltered villas, with a central community space which has large green areas interspersed with a dense cluster of trees. The Villas The 67 earth covered villas have been designed to create an intimate scale, with the idea that the streetscape should not be dominated with the monotony of built volumes sticking out on both sides of the street. Therefore, with the help of the existing contours of the land, and by creating split levels inside the villas, taking part of the structure half a floor lower than the road, and keeping the front portion of the home designed at a single level – we have been able to ensure that, for a person walking or driving down the street, all the homes appear as single storey homes despite the fact that they are actually all two-storied. The low car portico (only around 8’ from the cobbled driveway) and the gently curved landscaped roofs further help achieve the intimate scale. Each villa also has a vegetable garden on the roof of the living room. The floor plan of each individual home is L-shaped and the L is placed along one edge of the plot – thus ensuring a large green space inside the L and also ensuring that every room has a view of the garden. This also eliminates small passages between homes. With four units mirrored and placed back-to-back, the total number of visible structures reduces to one quarter – so, though there are 67 villas, there are only 17 visible structures thereby removing the clutter. This also creates a central space between 4 villas where only tall plants have been used for separation – no walls. The Duplex apartments Challenging the perception that apartments can’t really get you the same feel as an individual home, these units are designed with large gardens (70’ x 14’), a water body and wood deck within each unit. Every living space including the kitchen, is adjacent to the garden, separated only by large glass paneled sliding doors, always providing the feeling of being close to nature – even on higher floors. The gardens are complete with sprinklers and a drip irrigation system and with plants as tall as 16 feet. Upstairs, the family space opens out onto a glass deck that allows light to pass through to the wood deck below it. With double height spaces, a large library, an aquarium between the kids bathroom and bedroom, large wood deck and tall bamboos in the garden, most visitors to the prototype of this unit are unable to believe that this could be on the 17th floor. The long water body, running along the entire length of the apartment, acts like a safety feature – preventing young ones from getting too close to the balcony edge. The large overhangs created by the garden slabs shade the glazing from direct sun – keeping the interiors cool. The apartment blocks have been placed next to each other in a straight line, thereby avoiding, views from one apartment into another and also providing maximum number of units a view of the lake and the green roofs of the villas – which are a treat to look at – adding to the scenic views towards the lake. This way the apartments are also far enough from the villas so as not to be intrusive. The rooftops of the seven towers have been connected by a skywalk above the 19th floor and designed to be completely landscaped with dwarf trees and cobbled streets. Vibrant with plants and city views, the skywalk is ideal for morning or evening walks or for jogging. The edges have been designed with railings that slope outward – preventing kids from climbing onto them and also providing privacy to the triplex units below. Natural materials have been used throughout the project to create intimacy with nature. All external walls are built in high quality exposed terracotta bricks sourced from the neighboring state. All roads and driveways are in hand dressed cobblestones, wood and glass pergolas serve as the covers over the car porticos and landscaping itself is used as a material – in the form of vertical creeper panels and grass covered structures. Every home has also been designed to be flexible – with interior options pre-created for customers to choose from through a special software created by the developers. From changing wall positions, to selecting the shelving inside the cabinetry and selecting from several different finishes, the customer can completely personalize his / her home. Architects : Shibanee & Kamal Architects Developers : Total Environment Building Systems Private Limited


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