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Building Futures with Vernacular Architecture

Building Futures with Vernacular Architecture

Located in the rural fabric of Khanderaopura village near Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Tribhuvana is Himanshu Patel’s d6thD design studio workspace. Completed in 2022, this 250 m² project stands as a testament to Patel’s commitment to creating vernacular spaces that nurture the creative process while fostering a renewed connection with nature and tradition. The studio embodies the belief that the village way of life, with its inherent authenticity and simplicity, can inspire modern architectural practices.

A Closer Look at Tribhuvana’s Design Philosophy

Tribhuvana reflects a harmonious blend of heritage and innovation. The design speaks to the designer’s deep respect for his roots. By living the philosophy he preaches, Himanshu Patel connects authentically with clients, building trust and demonstrating that his design principles are integral parts of his life. This authenticity adds a layer of credibility to his work, showing that he truly believes in the transformative power of thoughtful design.

Nestled within a farm, the building coexists with the surrounding farming activities. Its proximity to an expansive lake and a road influences the building’s orientation, integrating it seamlessly into its environment.

The Entrance and Courtyard

The studio’s entrance follows Vastu principles, leading visitors through a slender corridor that opens into a central courtyard. Framed by two guardian trees, this courtyard exudes balance, connecting indoor and outdoor spaces harmoniously. It serves as a verdant sanctuary, offering respite and fostering a connection with nature. During gatherings, the courtyard transforms into a dynamic space filled with pebbles, celebrating collective spirit.

On the east side of the courtyard’s wall, a temple niche with a Ganpati placed in a jharokha-like window engages in a silent dialogue with tradition and nature. As the sun’s first rays touch this element, it becomes a beacon of spiritual illumination, casting its light on the heart of the dwelling.

Spatial Progression and Configuration

Visitors experience a dramatic spatial progression as they move through the building. Unlike typical designs that focus outward, this design centers around an inner courtyard, encouraging an immersive experience within its intimate setting. This inward focus shifts the perspective from passive observation to active engagement, where light, shade, and movement tell compelling stories.

As the name Tribhuvana suggests, the architecture takes shape as a dynamic L-shaped plan formed by three interconnected building blocks, each serving a distinct purpose. With a climate-conscious design approach, the studio and residence blocks align north-south to minimize heat gain. The multipurpose hall easily adapts for presentations, communal discussions, and events. Despite diverse functions, a unified character emerges through a consistent material palette featuring local stone, bricks, and terracotta tiles. Colored glass in windows adds vibrancy, balancing aesthetics and cohesion.

Adjacent to the main configuration is the studio space, a solitary building that creates a unique triad capturing spatial diversity and functional versatility. The studio comprises a workspace and an office, visually connected by a small khadki. South-facing openings bring in a soothing evening breeze from the lake. At the intersection of the studio block and multipurpose hall, seating beneath trailing creepers fosters community during daily chai sessions.

Emphasizing Sustainability and Traditional Elements

Tribhuvana’s design emphasizes climate responsiveness with carefully curated openings that reflect sustainability and introverted planning. These openings balance flexibility and function, fostering a tactile connection with the environment. Recycling is integral, with repurposed jaalis and materials redefining the architectural essence. Traditional window designs offer control and openness, connecting with the outside or providing a cocoon within. The narrative of these openings is enriched by recycled triplet windows that modulate light and air for comfort.

The western façade of the multipurpose hall uses terracotta jalis to filter harsh sunlight, creating a gentle connection between indoors and outdoors. This blend of traditional design, sustainability, and climate sensitivity enhances the overall experience.

Celebrating Craftsmanship and Local Resources

Objects in the courtyard have been thoughtfully sourced over years from nearby villages, travels, and even home. For instance, the steps are made from stone chakki or grinders, honoring heritage and ingenuity. This curation is cost-effective and infuses a tactile essence into the surroundings. Each item holds a historical narrative, fostering connections and inviting stories.

In the spaces, objects celebrate resourceful ingenuity. Triangular jaalis, storage niches, a repurposed copper wash basin, and subtle brick embellishments creatively utilize available resources. The architect believes that the emotional quality of the space transcends its physical boundaries, making the walls storytellers that echo experiences, memories, and connections. This fosters a sense of familiarity and belonging that goes beyond the material realm.

Incorporating local crafts and techniques reduces costs and fosters local appreciation for traditional ways of life. Himanshu’s sincere intention to dignify and empower craftsmen plays a vital role, infusing the building process with human spirit and heritage. This collaboration results in architecture that transcends physical form, shaped by the craftsman’s identity and skill.

Conclusion: The Emotional Impact of Thoughtful Design

Amidst these intricacies of spatial narration, Tribhuvana embodies a philosophy that transcends architecture as a mere physical construct. It becomes a vessel of emotion, connection, and well-being. This is architecture that breathes life, with the power of design to shape not only spaces but the very essence of the human experience.

For more details, you can follow them on Instagram at the6thd and Facebook at d6thD design studio.

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