Reimagining Urban Living

Designing Compact Homes that Incorporate Daylight and Natural Ventilation

In architectural practice today, designers often face the challenge of building in dense urban neighbourhoods. In India's densely populated cities with choked streets, high noise levels, and cramped sites, many homes have limited room for light and fresh air, the prerequisites of a well-designed space.

Architects and designers can improve the quality of thermal comfort, safety, and overall well-being of residents by prioritizing the admission of daylight and natural ventilation. At the House with a Brick Veil in New Delhi, the compact site is enclosed by busy streets on three sides. Desirable views were scant, barring the exception of a few trees. The clients sought a calm oasis amid the urban commotion to house three apartments on this tight footprint. An acoustic and thermal buffer was created using dense green pockets in the planning. By utilizing courtyards and balconies, the living spaces feel light, spacious and comfortable.

A 345 mm brick veil envelops the structure, creating a comfortable buffer between the interior and outside streetscape. By carefully studying the possible sightlines, openings and punctures in different degrees are cut out into the veil, allowing natural light and fresh air to stream indoors.

The plot for the Stacked Courtyard House, another residence in a dense New Delhi neighbourhood, faced similar constraints of space and privacy.

The plot for the Stacked House, another residence in a dense New Delhi neighbourhood, faced similar constraints of space and privacy. The west-facing site is enclosed on three sides, while the fourth opens into a feeder road. As a result, we came up with the idea of <rt-red> designing two staggered duplexes enclosing a triple-height courtyard that admits natural light and ventilation deep into the interiors. <rt-red> This primary courtyard is flanked by verandahs that encourage engagement among the family members, much like in a traditional aangan.

City living and the spread of urban clusters are realities we need to address urgently in the years to come. <rt-red> Crafting spaces within these environments into comfortable homes filled with light, fresh air, and openness is a challenge that thoughtful design can address and overcome. <rt-red> As architects and design practitioners, we must work with the resources we possess, and identify and address the challenges that are unique to our conditions to design resilient buildings.

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