The downward trend of multigenerational living is experiencing a reversal of sorts as a growing number of families across the world opt to live under one roof. For some, it’s a way of living that eases and facilitates both elder and childcare. For others, this arrangement comes with the benefit of stripped-down or shared expenses. A home designed by SHROFFLEóN makes a case for the return to traditional typologies, where large families lived together in detached homes around a central courtyard.
The House of Two Courtyards, as it is called, is the first home of a young couple and their two toddlers. Located deep inside the leafy Parsi gated community of Malcolm Baug in Jogeshwari, Mumbai, the 6,000-square feet home abutts a plot that houses an already existing home inhabited by the couple’s parents.
The architects, Kayzad Shroff and Maria Isabel Jimenez Leon, worked with the given brief that indicated a requirement for a home with some semblance of privacy for the young family. SHROFFLEóN arrived at a solution in the form of an elevated box that seemingly floats on a long recessed feature wall. Private moments are moderated by introducing openings that are few and far between on the façade and are only partially concealed by a wooden trellis. While the residential quarters of the couple’s Mumbai home are tucked away on the upper floor, all social areas such as the living and dining rooms, a guest bedroom, hobby room and service areas sit at the ground level.
The brief also came with a requirement for unimpeded access and an easy connect to the client’s parents’ home. To this end, a generously sized landscaped outdoor area, accessible by both families for shared leisurely pursuits, connects the two homes that house different generations. The House of Two Courtyards orients itself to this shared open space as well as to the parents’ home on the side.
A portal framed in granite serves as a welcoming entry point to the roomy double-height living area of this independent dwelling for the young family, while the patio that sits below the portal forms a connect with the shared outdoor space. “The material palette is fairly spartan. White Australian marble is used to clad the exteriors with a minimal amount of wood for the louvres camouflaging the openings, black granite for the portal and silver travertino for the wall leading the visitor towards the entrance of the home,” says Shroff.
The simple material palette continues inside the home, contributing to its decidedly minimal interior design. The pastel-wall minimalism works in tandem with all-white Australian marble flooring to generate a soothing effect. Carpets of wood punctuating the white flooring coupled with the sporadic use of Teak wood fittings softens the social spaces and generates a feeling of warmth.
Every designated space on the upper level — three generously sized bedrooms, a home office and a family room — is designed to look inward. This is also where lies the home’s focal point — two lush indoor courtyards (203.4 sq ft and 82.88 sq ft) that puncture the floor plate and bring in natural light and ventilation to the residential quarters. According to the architects, the courtyard serves the aim of transforming an introverted urban house into an open volume that washes the interiors with natural lighting and fresh breeze. Bring the focal point of the upper floor plate, the courtyard binds the house together, both visually and programmatically.
The main challenge with introducing courtyards within the home related to providing a secure courtyard while retaining every bit of openness that urban homes lack. To this end, the architects devised a solution to cover the top of the courtyard with trellis, thereby permitting the foliage to spread and serve as a natural air filter, while simultaneously providing security.
The presence of the pair of inner courtyards serves to offer an uplifting living experience for its inhabitants by shifting the natural world inside and forming an instant connect to nature. In effect, this Mumbai home counters the general language of the urban house and the prevailing frenetic pace of living.