Brick, Terracotta, And Wicker Form The Round Corner House In Kottayam, Kerala

  • 25 Feb '21
  • 10:47 pm by Nuriyah Johar

An often underrated aspect of good design, especially to a casual observer, is context. In the face of fleeting trends, what truly stands the test of time is thoughtful design which takes into consideration the circumstances within which it exists; from the layout down to the colours used. For architects Clara Rose Jose and Jose K Matthew of Foundation F.L.O.D and JKM Design Consortium, the context in question was a barren plot of land with roads on three sides, in an especially humid location. Their design for the Round Corner House in Kottayam, Kerala is an eloquent response to these factors.

The brick jaali wall forms a dynamic facade. Photography Credits – Syam Sreesylam

Marrying the rusticity of exposed brick with an undulating, modern silhouette, the exposed jaali wall of the courtyard affords some much-needed privacy to the bedrooms and living areas, while also allowing for ample cross ventilation. “The design is an outcome of challenges and constraints,” says Matthew, principal architect at JKM Design Consortium. “The construction of the outer brick jaali wall was a challenge and could proceed only very slowly because of its lean nature. However, the undulation makes it more stable. The wall provides wind and air into the house, and at the same time protects the residence from the western, eastern and southern sun.” The site in itself was small, leaving little room for landscaping or agriculture. This prompted the decision to bring over the earth excavated for the foundation onto the terraces of the ground and first floor. After proper waterproofing, these now accommodate the vegetable garden and fruit trees.

A conscious use of wicker is reflected throughout the interiors. Photography Credits – Syam Sreesylam

The interior space was conceptualized to be a continuation of the exterior expression of the building. The exposed brick jaali inspires the colour and materiality of the interiors made up largely, of four elements – clay(terracotta), wood, brass, and cane. “Just as the brick binds the exterior, the terracotta tiles used as flooring throughout bind the interior into one entity,” explains architect Clara Rose Jose of Foundation F.L.O.D, who designed the interiors of the home. Allowing the earthy red floors to take centre stage without oversaturating the space, Jose chose white for the walls. Further informed by the humid location, an abundance of lush indoor and outdoor plants feature throughout the home.

The materiality forms a coherent visual language throughout the house. Photography Credits – Syam Sreesylam

The Round Corner House opens into a grand, double-height living and dining area in an open-plan layout. Elements characteristic of a classic, tropical home like terracotta flooring and wicker pieces are complemented beautifully by brass detailing throughout. More than simply an aesthetic choice, Jose incorporated woven cane across the furniture and decor for its ability to let filtered light in and enable airflow through and through. This design language extends to the bedrooms too, which feature wicker headboards and lighting, with brass accents. All the furniture used in the house was custom designed using locally sourced materials in order to uniquely suit the persona of the house.

The conscious utilization of materials, textures, and colours create widespread visual connectivity both inside and outside the house, which stands as a magnificent built response to its environment.

The brick jaali conceals a dark grey exterior wall. Photography Credits – Syam Sreesylam
The furniture and lighting used was custom designed using local materials. Photography Credits – Syam Sreesylam
The undulating feature of the jaali wall adds structural stability. Photography Credits – Syam Sreesylam