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A sunny disposition in Delhi

Described as a journey of self-discovery, the Yellow Brick House was designed by Delhi-based architecture firm Amit Khanna Design Associates (AKDA). The pale-colored brick selected for the facade mitigates heat gain while maintaining longevity. The home opens up to a fresh view of trees, sunshine and natural light. The firm focused on energy conservation using intelligent construction methodologies. Sustainable products such as clay bricks, pale-colored walls, aluminum-glazed windows, and LED lighting have been used. Top-notch security in the apartment is guaranteed with a keyless central security system with digital access.

The site is located near the playground of a large school. Thus, treetops frame views towards the south and west. The building is oriented to maximize exposure to that direction. As is typical in Delhi’s plotted development communities, the parcels of land are in the ratio of 2:1, and given the narrow frontage, any internal layout must contend with trying to bring natural light into as many rooms as possible.

The four bedrooms are strung on the periphery of the building, organized around a central light shaft that illuminates the family dining area. The living room opens up to the front, shaded from the south sun by a deep balcony. The subterranean level opens up to a sunken courtyard while also being illuminated by multiple skylights. At the ground level, a walkway leads to the main staircase and elevator core, while a driveway on either side leads to car parking at the rear.

The project illustrates the architect’s evolving understanding about the durability of materials in Delhi’s harsh climate. Brick is inherently durable – clay bricks last almost indefinitely, being largely immune to fire, wind borne debris, and temperature fluctuations and their exceptional thermal mass helps mitigate heat transfer. While the manufacture of bricks is recognized to be energy intensive, over 89 per cent of the GHG impact of a building lies in its operating costs over the 50-year-lifecycle of a building. Within these parameters, bricks outperform almost every other building material, effectively reducing the environmental impacts from other systems like air conditioning and heating. Additionally, manufacturing processes have remarkably improved, with the use of energy efficient tunnel kilns, fired using natural gas, and all waste heat and clay being recycled within the plant, with the effective energy consumption per brick reducing every year. Conventional red brick is dark and absorbent when seen from the point of view of Delhi’s summer sun.

Every component of the building was selected with the same parameters of high performance and inherent robustness. Aluminum windows with double glazing are used all around, the terrace is insulated and landscaped, the air-conditioning uses variable refrigerant volume based on active monitoring of indoor use, and LED lighting is used throughout the building. Sensors are fitted in the washrooms and the stair, and they automatically control the lights based on movement and ambient light conditions. The apartments are secured with a keyless central security system with digital access.