The Origami House: by Ar. Sanjay Puri, Mumbai
Ar. Sanjay Puri’s portfolio is proliferated with projects of varying scales and segments that see him explore geometric exponents in exciting spatial dynamics. All throughout his career, Sanjay has been seen experimenting boldly and wildly with sculpted volumes in interiors and exteriors of buildings! The Japanese art of paper folding, Origami, which has since long inspired design and engineering applications – shows up in a zany home designed by the maverick architect.
Quite often, brilliant design stems from banal directives. A small plot of 500 sq m within an enclave of small buildings and houses, meant close proximity of the existing structures on the southern and eastern sides with the possibility of the western side too being developed in the near future. Keeping the necessary open spaces on all sides, the maximum floor plate of 250 sq m was permissible. With several requirements listed in the client’s brief, the development had to go vertical – into four levels, besides a basement.
What is today seen as a mind-blowing piece of Origami-inspired architecture, was in fact a design-response to overcome several limitations! Of course, here, the architect’s talent does matter a lot; because a design solution that emerges as a response to such site-specific constraints, does not necessarily materialize into a powerful work of architecture. The primary decision here, was to orient all rooms towards the open road on the northern side. The angled incisions that have manifested as origami planes on the façade actually came from this critical design decision.
This orientation simultaneously ensures that all rooms derive indirect northern light allowing them to remain cool during the extensive summer months of the city’s location. Each room opens into small and sheltered north-facing open spaces, creating an energy efficient building.
Unlike most individual homes built on large land parcels which therefore can be designed more horizontally, this urban house is in a densely populated city and has a large built volume in comparison to the plot. The house is expressed as a single sculpted volume externally; while forming varying planes of semi-enclosed spaces within - that punctuate the building form. A large open stairwell sky lit at the terrace level allows natural light to infuse the internal circulation spaces at each level.
The Origami House is responsive to its context; while lending privacy from adjacent buildings in close proximity.