Project: Kota House
Location: Kota, Rajasthan.
Area: 1283 Sq.Mt.
Design Team: Sameep Padora, Aparna Dhareshwar, Vami Koticha, Gaurav Chaurasia, Shravanthi Kanekal, Sidharth Somana, Akanksha Sharma, Aniket Umaria.
The project is situated in the small city of Kota in Rajasthan in Northern India. Kota was an extremely important junction on the railway route linking Delhi to Mumbai but in the recent past it’s economy has revolved around the thousands of students arriving every year for training in coaching classes for entrance into the famed IIT institutes. This has created an entire ecology of programs that supports this transient population with housing for these aspirants becoming the favoured program type in the city. Incumbent real estate pressures have meant that the proportions of the ubiquitous guest house typology of owned residential and few rentable guest rooms has is now reversed, with the hostel program dominating. The program of the Host House is a manifestation of exactly this condition. Located in a relatively new part of the city, the buildings as per code share common walls, their form continuous, for half a kilometre of street length without relief. While they do flank a green space behind, there is no visual connect to the open space from the street and consequently no relief from the wall like built form on the street. Our first instinct was to punctuate the building with two sets of voids. The first is the Urban Void; a subtraction of building mass along the street as well as along the rear towards the playground thus creating an aperture for visual relief along the wall like urban form; the second is the Domestic Void, centrally located creating a climatic device for shaded social space as well as cross ventilation. Through the operation of the Domestic Void we also reference the traditional housing type typology of the courtyard Haveli cognizant of the innate contradiction symptomatic of architecture in tier 3 cities in India where contextually appropriate design is sometimes in contestation with aspirations of local users. In Kota specifically this is evident from the fact that despite being a part of centuries of architectural ingenuity that resulted in the Bundi fort etc, Kota city advertises scaled versions of the 7 wonders of the world as its major tourist attraction. In the HostHouse we attempt to marry the tangible value of traditional type without necessarily being bound to its typical formal associations with the building responding primarily to paradigms of program and location. The material of the building is reinforced concrete frame staggered vertically between the twin programs of house and hostel, finished with Kota stone and Araish plaster.