When Dr. Ruby Abraham – a Civil Engineer and Principal of a leading Engineering College in Trivandrum, and her husband Mr. Raju A.J. – an Advocate, wanted to build their second home on a small, three cent (i.e. 121 m2) plot of land in a crowded residential part of Trivandrum city, their design brief was simple, to aim for a distinctive and unique creation.
The resultant form of the house was as a platonic cube, with visual dynamism injected through the slight truncation of one top corner and the use of terracotta jali work on the front façade undergirded by metal-framed windows. The resultant overall composition has been eponymously titled Ruby’s Cube.
Given the tightness of the site, juxtaposed with the busyness and clutter of the neighbourhood and its paucity of good vistas, the design philosophy adopted opted to rather focus inwards, and succeeded in creating a cloistered ‘oasis of tranquility’ in the midst of chaotic surroundings.
A tight programming methodology was employed for the design of the Entry Foyer, Living Room, Staircase, Dining, and Kitchen, all seamlessly forming one interflowing contiguous space- which is then spatially ‘tied together’ by the double-height volume above the Living Room and Staircase emanating a sense of vastness and upliftment.
This central living space is serviced by means of louvers on external walls to ensure cross ventilation and to introduce a veritable drama of changing light tracking the movement of the sun across the day. These louvers – some of which were custom-designed, were distributed atop the front wall top of the Living Room, on the balcony as well as around the Staircase – all working in consort to ensure continuous airflow through the inside of the house.
The Dining Room opens out to an enclosed landscaped courtyard. The openness in planning, the use of big joinery openings and the care taken in spatial planning endows the interior areas with a spacious feel. The modernist boxy ‘chandeliers’ in the Dining area, and above the Stairs were also custom designed.
The stairs were constructed in cement plaster finish, with a minimalist design deployed for the handrails using simple in GI tubes painted black. A recessed alcove space was created underneath the stairs to house a writing nook. The centre of the stairs has space for an internal ‘micro garden’.
The Master Bedroom opens out to a courtyard at the rear and abutting the property’s external fencing. The courtyard allows the free entry and passage of light and breezes, but is physically protected by the deployment of a safety grill built from rebars, affording a soft visual touch to what is typically an obtrusive safety feature.
The ensuite wet areas are also extended out into an enclosed landscaped court.
The Living Room located on the first floor offers good views downstairs to the Living Room on the ground floor living room and intervening stairwell. The design has allowed for a home theatre room at the rear side, for subsequent execution in the future. The Bed Room located on the first floor towards the front has a balcony has louvers which ensure privacy while bringing in cooling breezes. The visual effect in these rooms is also a striking feature.
With regard to finishes, a cement finish theme was used for all walls of the house, while the ceiling was painted white. The floor was done with natural terracotta tiles to give a warm yet subtle contrast to the walls and ceiling, thus accentuating its positive qualities and vibe.
Overall a minimalist scheme was used for the furniture, with some being designed and others externally sourced.
Ground Floor Area - 83 sq.m.
First Floor Area - 70 sq.m.
Total Floor Area - 153 sq.m.
Plot Area - 121 sq.m.
Srijit Srinivas - ARCHITECTS
Ruby's Cube by Srijit Srinivas in India won the WA Award Cycle 36. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.
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