Delhi’s municipal bye-laws governing buildings are notoriously rigid and complex and on smaller plots, the volumes are almost pre-ordained by the enormous pressure to utilize every square inch. Larger sites can offer more flexibility, but this is rarely exploited by developers and most of the new buildings on the street following a similar pattern of leaving the required open space on all four sides as a hard-paved area, limiting the garden to the terrace. Our clients were a single family that needed large living areas, along with an apartment that could be let out and a penthouse for one of the siblings, who also happened to be an architect.
Our strategy was to relook at the fundamentals, starting from the building footprint. Rather than blindly follow the stipulated setbacks, we explored a rarely used bye-law, one that permitted us to build edge to edge as long as we remained under a certain area. This allowed us to extend a slender living room volume and recess the rest of the building, creating a large 600SF garden on the north corner of the property. As the site lay at an angle to the street, this ensured that the view from the living room would never be compromised by new construction down the road and the aspect meant that we could have floor to ceiling glazed windows to maximize the view without worrying about solar gain.
At the rear, the larger width of the building meant that we could place 3, rather than the usual 2 bedrooms facing the rear garden, allowing for a compact plan that limits circulation areas. A family lounge & dining overlook a large central courtyard as well as a deeply shaded deck on the southern face.