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Local flavor for Jodhpur retirement home

Pune-based architecture firm Tao Architecture designed the Shunyam Residence, a single-family retirement home in Jodhpur. The client wanted a home that connected the indoors with the outdoors yet explored the cultural heritage of Rajasthan in their modern lifestyle. Spanning an area of 6736 sq ft, the home was situated in the residential community surrounded by the scenic views of the hills. Surrounded by preserved fruit orchards and picturesque hilly landscapes to the north and west; the home is a prime example of a contemplative retreat.

Rajasthani vernacular architecture is used to its finest in the stone jaalis, jharokas, skylights, and arches that suffuse the area with natural daylight and fresh air. Modern technology has been incorporated into the seemingly traditional design using stack ventilation towers and evaporation cooling towers as an efficient cross-ventilation system to counter the heat. Thus, traditional architecture has been combined with modern ventilation techniques to bring in a blend of style and sustainability.

Semi-private living areas such as the living room, kitchen and other family rooms have been designed as free-flowing areas encompassing a set of twin courtyards. On the other hand, the private living areas have been harmonized with the outdoor environment through expansive verandahs and sit-out areas. The service areas have been arranged alongside the boundary to insulate the walls against the desert climate. Separate built masses are segregated by jaalis and opened up to the outside through arches in sandstone. Earthen pots have been installed over the terrace stone slab for its naturally air-conditioning properties, while the toilet walls have been lime-plastered walls done up in organic pigmented blue.

Being a prime example of vernacular architecture, local materials have been exploited to their full potential to beautify the space. The walls and ceilings feature local pink and red sandstone to prevent heat transmission due to its thermally insulating properties. Makrana marble flooring is an important feature in the living spaces, while the private areas are accented with sisham wood flooring for comfort and warmth.

Local Rajasthani craftwork deserves a special mention in the structure, and colored glass mosaic has been integrated with door panels to disperse colorful rays of light across the minimalistic interiors. Other climate-friendly yet economical materials such as stone, glass, and metal have been incorporated in the form of handcrafted furniture and accessories. Printed and woven textiles such as tapestry and carpets add a splash color to the monochromatic hues of exposed local materials. Solar water heating panels are installed for hot water requirements during winters & extreme cold conditions.

Since the region boasts of an arid climate, water conservation techniques have been installed in place. The rainwater run-off is collected and channelized to an underground tank with a capacity of 13,000 liters. Moreover, there is a borewell that is supported by stored rainwater through the surrounding rechargeable pits.