A fusion home in Kerala

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I like fusion. It means taking two very different things and making something new. It takes courage, it takes imagination & bit of irreverence. This post brings you exactly that. On my trip to Trivandrum I was hoping to see an exciting home. Something I could show here. I had no clue what it would be- I hadn’t spoken to my brother-in-law. And anyway what does one say- ‘Do you know any interesting house – typical keralite architecture hopefully- which I could showcase on my blog?’ So I didn't say anything. I land up at my sister's new home and am instantly interested in the neighbouring house which follows the Laurie Baker style of architecture which I wrote about here. I request if I can take pictures. And end up meeting Balagopal S whose home it is. He tells us that there's another house he has built which might interest me- And we go to this amazing home called ‘Neelakantham’. This home is a fusion of the Laurie Baker style of architecture which is very bricky and the traditional Keralite architecture which is poetry in dark wood.

The roofs, the gatepost and the wooden windows are typically keralite in style. All of it is held together by neat brickwork.
Note the beautiful windows and the conical roof details which are original antique woodwork rescued from an old keralite home.
The traditional gate or 'Padippura vathil'...
...opens to a pretty little garden

The verandah/balcony/corridor that is held up by traditional wooden pillars
A traditional brass lamp contrasts beautifully with the dark wood panelling

I love the brass rivets that embellish the panelling. Simple, but so elegant.
The house opens to the traditional courtyard which lets in the sun and ventilates the home.
One looks up the central courtyard or 'Nadumittam' to see 2 floors of the home.

I love the traditional wooden windows with its carved bars embedded in the brick wall. This fusion works so well- it doesn't seem like fusion at all.

Lookking down at the 'Nadu mittam'
The home belongs to Professor N Radhakrishnan, chairman Indian Council for Gandhian studies who had some very inspiring stories to tell of fellow Gandhians.
There are books EVERYWHERE which makes the place so real and lived in.
Books also line the high wooden stairs that lead to the library.
The curved and graceful keralite windows let the light in in warm bands.
The interesting thing is Balagopal who designed this and got the rather reluctant contractors to try this experiment is not a trained architect. He just loves building homes & it really shows.

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