The client approached us with the idea of creating a Sustainable Residential Community for their family and friends.
Prabodh Doshi, Auroma Synergy
Gated Residential Community
Architectural Design, Heritage Ambience, Sustainability Engineering, Appropriate Materials, Innovation in Building technologies,
Strategies for Water & Waste, Strategies for Energy efficiency, Thermal Comfort through Natural Means, Master Planning, Structural Design
Plumbing Design, Electrical Design, Branding through Building Design, Landscape Design, Market Feasibility for Developer, Interior Design.
Jan 2012 – Jan 2013
Feb 2014 – May 2017
A client approached us with an idea of creating a Sustainable Residential Community for their family and friends. They were from Mumbai who had shifted to Pondicherry after a successful career in running several manufacturing industries. Also, they had a refined sense of aesthetic, both husband and wife being artists. Their vision was that it should be a one-of-its-kind Gated development which would combine all the green features a homeowner could dream of. This would be Pondicherry’s first initiative of this kind.
They took us to the land they had selected for this purpose at the cusp of Pondicherry & Auroville. The ECR bypass was only a km away and yet we found ourselves almost tucked away in a forest. We climbed a small ladder leaning against a site office. To our greatest surprise, we found ourselves surrounded by 360 degrees of lush green treetops, as far as our eyes could see.
We also understood that if we stand at second or third floor level, we will be able to see the crystal clear waters of Bay of Bengal. We could hear at least twelve different types of birds chirping away against the background score of the rustling of leaves. Our hair was flowing in the breeze. The bright orange sun hovering near the tree-tops. We were smiling, breathing deeply, assimilating this grandeur of nature. And we said to ourselves – Perfect location!
Our scope involved market surveys and coming up with the best ideas in making the project financially feasible for the end users. It would be a combination of first homes and second homes with home sizes ranging from compact studios to spacious 3 bedroom apartments. After a few meetings, we understood that this was a special project with a Vision where Architectural Design would play a very important role. The design needed a theme, a unique identity which would make it stand apart from the dozens of other developers in the city.
Diversity in Unity ! Each Villa stands out as unique due to colour in spite of a similar design
We wanted every home to be a Hawa Mahal ! The memory of the first day on the land was too special and we wanted everyone who lives in these homes to experience that amazing feeling of breathing the freshest and most fragrant air in India with the breeze blowing through your hair ! For this, we conducted wind readings on the site before deciding the exact orientation of buildings and oriented the windows to create funnel effect and pull the breeze into the home. Also, myriad windows inside each apartment which enable the home to open up and close like a flower !
One of the simplest ways of preventing your home from getting heated up is to orient it correctly such that the walls do not face the sun. Easily said ! But site conditions govern how your buildings will sit. At AFV, the interiors of all homes remain remarkably cool because of correct orientation. Added to this, the deep verandahs and balconies further act as an umbrella or a barrier preventing the walls of the house from absorbing the sunlight.
Important lessons are to be learnt from old heritage towns which were kept cool through clever layouts. At AFV, the shaded streets of Jailsalmer have inspired the internal pathways which ensure the Villas shade each other at all times with reversing shadow patterns during mornings and afternoons.
The choice of materials rose out of our passion for Sustainability. Old heritage buildings are built with fired red bricks where a 9” wall has a thermal transmittance of 1.92 W/m2k. Given the hot and humid climate of South India, this can make homes very hot from inside and hence people in older days had to make walls of double thickness to keep out the heat. At AFV, we got special bricks made with flyash and lime with a thermal transmittance of 0.66W/m2k. With these, we were able to achieve the same level of thermal comfort of a 18” red brick wall with a 9” flyash wall thereby maximising the carpet area of the home.
With all these strategies put together, we were able to bring down the air conditioning load of the homes by half !