Breathing New Life Into an Existing Neoclaasical Structure for 21st-Century Living
Located in the Heart of New Delhi, the Lutyens' Bungalow Zone is known for its synthesis of Indo-European architectural ideals, featuring sprawling manicured gardens, tree lined avenues and stately buildings reminiscent of the capital's colonial past. A privately-owned property in this neibhourhood has been remodeled into a contemporary single-family residence.
The design brief required the structure to be adapted into a private residence with minimum alterations to the original Neoclassical structure. The spacious entrance foyer is the spine and has the richest diversity of art: a bespoke mirror by Filipino artist Vito Selma, a bench by Rooshad Shroff, a woodcut installation by renowned artist Kumaresan Selvaraj, and artwork by Gunjan Kumar both sourced from Exhibit 320. Flanking the foyer are additional artworks by Manjunath Kamath and Sumedh Rajendra. The twin-headed sculpture that forms the centrepiece of the foyer is by South African artist Lionel Smit.
The highlight in the living area is a spectacular textile installation with hand-embroidered woodcut prints on silk by Dhvani Bahl for Flora and Fauna. The dining room has twin artworks by a mother-daughter artist duo, Shanti Bai and Mangla Bai, sourced from Tribal Art forms collective run by Mandira Lamba
The spatial layout has segregated public and private functions placed on different levels. Internal structural modifications enhance the functional quality of the spaces and infuse daylight and ventilation through the home by selectively shifting walls, reconfiguring ceiling levels and reorganizing the sequence of entrances to cater to the flexibility and the varying degrees of privacy required for different functions.
The living room is a sequestered space, oriented axially to the entrance to allow direct access. It is carved out by extending a former board room and integrating it into a former corridor. The eastern wing features the dining area, overlooking the swimming pool and the garden. Art Deco references such as the brass and frosted glass partitions, brass-accented furniture, and lights layer the restrained vocabulary with brush strokes of accent and highlights.
A lot of the furniture from the client's former home has been refurbished and integrated into the new scheme developed by the Mangrove team for the home, in close collaboration with the client. The home features a rich tapestry of paintings, sculptures and art installations representing the client's artistic sensibilities and affinity for art and understated luxury.
On the Ground floor, public zones such as a meeting area and a formal lounge are placed on either side of the foyer, ensuring privacy for other areas. A study that functions as a home office abuts the lounge and features operable sliding pocket doors, enabling ease of flexibility and integration of the spaces.
The master bedroom sits on one side of the axis and opens out onto a private verandah that frames the dense grove of large trees across the front of the house. The other side extends into his and her walk-in closets with their respective en suite bathrooms.
From a sustainability perspective, the client expressed a philosophy of "waste not, want not". Throughout the design and construction process, there has been a conscious effort to ensure least material wastage, and reuse of materials such as timber door and window frames, the existing hard finishes and civil elements as much as possible.
The landscape design works to revitalize hitherto sparingly used areas of the beautiful outdoor spaces, integrating it with the overall design scheme. Outdoor decks have been added to the garden to optimize the usability of the swimming pool, and the layout in the verandah has been altered to strengthen indoor-outdoor connection. Shaded by timber pergolas, the decks allow the backyard to accommodate formal and informal events that can be accessed by guests externally through the garden without disturbing the private functions of the residence.
Through minimal design interventions, the adaptive reuse project has successfully retained the authentic colonial vocabulary of the building while enhancing the overall living experience for its residents.