The Paliam family patriarchs were hereditary prime ministers to the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin, Kerala. Today the ancestral home and palace of this family is a heritage complex about an hour’s drive from the city of Cochin. The client who got a small parcel of around 160 sqm in the family partition decided to build a vacation home on it.
The brief was to design a home that could host their frequent visits and double up as accommodation for the multitude of classical artists and performers who grace the annual family festival.
The layout is largely informed by this; keeping bedroom areas to a minimum and giving over the space to an open-plan living. An oversized circulation passage doubles up as access to the heritage complex which would otherwise get blocked with this new construction. During the annual family festival it becomes a place for the artists to rest and relax en route to their performance.
The design takes a cue from the traditional Kerala architecture but introduces a gable to contain the building edges. A rainwater channel in polished cement replaces the eaves and helps direct water in a more controlled way for storage. This structural channel is repeated in each bay giving long unbroken windows in all the rooms. Jackfruit wood salvaged from traditional houses is used as a grill for shading and security. Glass roof tiles delineate the passage through the house and animate the interiors with ever changing light patterns on the floor.
Location: Chendamangalam, India
Built Area: 880 ft²
Design Team: Krishnan Varma, Saumya Joseph
Photography: Syam Sreesylam, Krishnan Varma, Govind Nair