Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Novell Ikebana in Neemrana, India by Design Forum International
November 25th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Design Forum International
Novell Ikebana was planned as a housing development that would cater to the economic and mid-premium segment. It is located in the outskirts of NCR, right off NH8, near the Japanese industrial zone in Neemrana. It was conceived as a utilitarian and functionality-driven housing scheme that will set new benchmarks in housing design in the rapidly developing B-towns in North India. Yet, within the design, there are provisions, avenues, methods and expressions that allow for lifestyle and design to be incorporated artistically and tastefully.
Set amidst other high-quality residential developments such as the popular Ashiana, Ikebana is developed on 5.65 Acres of land (with the possibility of addition of another 2 acres), close to the Japanese zone, that is home to many industrial establishments. With direct connectivity to the service lane of NH8, there is exclusive access; focused on and dedicated largely to the Ikebana development. Complete with a total of 700 apartments with a provision for another 200, with varied configurations of the economy segment of 2-bedroom apartments and mid-premium segment of 3 bedroom apartments, the development is all-inclusive with sufficient basement + surface parking, a utility mart under the 2 BHK tower, a luxurious club/ recreational facility located under the stilt area in the landscape etc.
Conceptualized from the Japanese art and style of flower arrangement called Ikebana, the housing development adapts the art’s approach of bringing in order in geometry, along with an undercurrent of unbridled creativity. It reflects the connection between the sky, the man and the earth, in which diversity comes into play, manifesting itself in a mélange; the inter-play of spaces, yet imaginative while being geometric, and inherently, typically Japanese.
Inheriting a clean linear site, and planned with high density square-ish towers, Ikebana is defined by clean, straight lines and boundaries and is driven by an egalitarian approach. Imbibing the art of flower arrangement, the form is straightforward with free-flowing curves, edges that soften the sharpness, roof forms that endow the authoritative straights with an aura of organic appeal, and a botanical flavor, with an almost feminine softness. All the units are designed as eight apartments with a common core, that look into the central green and are open on two sides to bring in maximum light and permit sufficient ventilation. With naturally-lit staircases and shared walls, economical construction and heat insulation are achieved efficiently.
Creatively expressing cohesiveness with nature, beauty and green spaces, the curvaceous roof forms are a tribute to the large Peepul or Bargad tree canopies, that provide shade in man-made hardscapes. The roof canopies bring respite and relief on the terrace. Crafted as a long, connected expanse of 500 feet, it has meandering walk-ways, shaded seating place and places for congregation, meditation, yoga, leisurely strolls etc. The club, which is the cynosure of any residential development, has been positioned at the cross roads of the current and future development in order to create a form that invites one surreptitiously into its domain; a form that one enters without realizing that one has arrived! In sharp contrast to the typical forms of residential development, Ikebana is developed as a curvilinear form: wrapped around, merged with and in resonance with the landscape. A form in which the outdoors gradually melts into the indoors, softened and aided by a languid pool and entry puddle. Together with the usual components like a multi-cuisine restaurant, a party hall, an AI-Fresco pool-side dining, a health and wellness gymnasium et al, the massive roof top is manicured and developed to bring nature and humanity together. The site landscape is laid-back, formal, yet lazy, with unpunctuated greens of almost an acre, interspersed with tot-lots, fragrance gardens, activity zones, with a Japanese penchant for immaculate arrangements built into the spirit of design.
Appreciating nature, the drop-off zones of the towers are imbued with the same approach; large, expansive, tree-lined and clearly demarcated for vehicular and pedestrian. They lead into the covered indoor spaces in the belly of the residential towers that are used for lobbies, waiting zones, light visitor handing and circulation. The points for entry and exit for the Basement are located close to entrance to enable smoother transitions, while an internal peripheral road is maneuvered to limit vehicular movement at surface level and segregate the pedestrian from the vehicular.
Emphasizing shape, line and form, the design process blends the softness of the nuances of nature with utilitarian goals of a functional building: like pathways, parking, play and congregation areas, resulting in the creation of a haven to relax the mind, body and soul; a charming treat for the residents’ senses.
About Design Forum International
Anand Sharma studied (B.Arch.)Hons, from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and started the practice “Tevatia Chauhan & Sharma Architects” in 1995. In 2003, the practice was rechristened as Design Forum International (DFI)with a clear intent to foster an egalitarian organizational ethos where distinctive architectural talent finds self-expression and can contribute in a democratic and collaborative work environment. The practice has since grown from strength to strength and is currently marching ahead with a vibrant team of over 100 professionals; each pursuing a distinctive value based architectural spirit that DFI imbues. Having won many accolades, DFI has emerged as an institution that attracts great design minds; who love to thrive in a professionally charged environment focusing on every detail and exploring new design methodology for every project.
Anand is an architect, talented singer and literary enthusiast. At DFI, he coined the slogan of “People first” and constantly uses his leadership and people skills to mentor and upscale the creative and intellectual horsepower. He believes that our cities must have a distinct character and as an architect, he lays great emphasis on contextuality in the firm’s design responses and the practical aspect of design solutions. With his extensive expertise In Architecture and Engineering, Anand Is an exceptional team leader possessing the capacity to carry a project from initiation to final production. His strength lies in his ability to manage projects with overlapping disciplines at the same time applying both quality and budget control. As a partner, Anand uses his diverse knowledge and experience to guide the architectural, engineering and client teams to work together to deliver highly successful projects.
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