Looking for expert guidance to design your

Leave your information and we will call you to book your preferred consultation slot

Please enter your Full Name
Please enter your Email ID
Please enter your Mobile Number
Please enter your Pincode

A home in New Delhi that makes a solid case for courtyards in city life

  • Ideas and Inspiration
By Sanhita Sinha Chowdhury
5 min read
Sep 12, 2019
cleft house interior

 

On the outside it’s a windowless monolith but within, Anagram Architects has created a bright and airy home with a courtyard—perfect for a joint family in an urban setting
 

How to live in a house that is open to the elements in New Delhi


The Anagram Architects office calls it the Cleft House—a name it earned from its indented shape which is the result of varied floor plans across four levels—but I would much rather call it The Introvert. It’s not the three levels of security our team had to clear to gain access to this residence in north Delhi, but its windowless façade that makes it seem like a brooding, introverted character. “In a typical house in Delhi you have large windows in the front or balconies, but [this plot] didn’t have a good view, and there’s too much noise and dust. Also, the client was very particular about his privacy,” explains Vaibhav Dimri, principal architect at Anagram and the one heading this project.
 

With all the natural elements blocked out from the front, Dimri created a courtyard at the heart of the house to ensure light and air circulation. “The courtyard typology works really well here not just because there is no view, but also with the climate. A typical courtyard house reduces the number of surfaces where the heat gain can happen. But we tweaked it a little and created an urban conditioned space. We covered this courtyard on top and made it rain sheltered; the wind can flow through, since the structure is open from the front and back. A large evaporative cooler throws in conditioned cool air, but doesn't consume a lot of energy.” With four levels stacked on top of it, this really looks like a contemporary interpretation of a courtyard. Guests love it, says Priya Kumar, the lady of the house. They think “it looks like a hotel, since there is a glass lift and balconies.” Having said that, the swirling staircase is a dramatic architectural component that immediately catches your eye when you enter this home.

 

Why Anagram Architects Calls This Cleft House

Standing on the ground floor, looking up at this rather tall courtyard, one can see why the architects named this project Cleft House. The two floors in the middle jut out into the courtyard, creating the impression of a dent. These floors—the first and the second—house the private living quarters of the Kumar family. And to maximise the square footage available here for the bedrooms and lounges, they were made to extend out into the courtyard.
 

cleft house exterior

The exterior of the Cleft House—finished in white and black Indian marble—has a gap in the middle, to which it owes its name.

Then there is the metaphorical implication of the project name. “In an urban scheme of row houses, this actually makes a dent,” says Dimri. Priya’s husband Munit was very clear about what he wanted as his joint family home; the brief was “build something I have not seen before”. Did the architect deliver, I ask Munit? “People are amazed to see this house, they want to see it again and again.” That is a ‘yes’ then. 
 

This is the second in the two-part series on the Cleft House. In the first part we see how the family of six uses the seven-floor building.

A portrait of Vaibhav Dimri
Vaibhav Dimri, principal architect at Anagram and the one heading the Cleft House project.
Delhi Home_home theatre

The walls in the screening room on the first floor have linear lights from Vizion Lighting.

delhi home kitchen
The kitchen is from by Euromobil Italy.
Delhi home courtyard
The central courtyard sports epay wood decking. The evaporative cooler is concealed within vertical epay panels and helps cool this space which is open to the elements from the front and the back of the house.
delhi home living room
The furniture in the living room is from Désirée, Italy. The flooring has been done in statuario marble.
cleft house staircase
The furniture in the dining room is from Désirée. The flooring has been done in statuario marble.
cleft house dining room
The chandelier that runs through the spiral staircase is from Jainsons Emporio.
cleft house staircase and lights
The chandelier that runs through the spiral staircase is from Jainsons Emporio.
cleft house interior
The master bedroom on the first floor, as viewed from the spiral staircase.
rounded-rectangle.jpg

Want to get a beautiful home makeover of your own?

Let’s talk

Similar Articles

Looking for expert guidance to design your

Leave your information here and receive a consultation with our interior design experts.

Please enter your Full Name
Please enter your Email ID
Please enter your Mobile Number
Please enter your Pincode