The Tower House is a Modernist’s Dream

Architecture firm RKDS has designed this striking wedge-shaped home inspired by Le Corbusier and British colonial and north Indian vernacular

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Delhi-based architecture firm RKDS has designed this strikingly modernist family home on an irregularly shaped plot in South Delhi. The building comprises three distinct masses that form a wedge designed to best utilise the plot, with volumes designed to respond to its tapered shape. Lead architect Martand Khosla was inspired to expand on his own architectural style, and took the material language of brick set within steel and concrete as the starting point for the Tower House’s modernist design. ‘The absence of a long history of local urban fabric in Delhi and the city’s amalgamation of contrasting architectural languages sitting side by side has led to a unique freedom for architects to practice and be experimental,’ he explains. ‘The family were looking for an architecture that would balance the family members’ independence with collective family spaces; a space that would discourage digital device-led lives and encourage communal family time; and a modern home, one that isn’t ostentatious, and with volumes that make the most of the constricted plot.’

The newly built home has four bedrooms, with double-height spaces employed to create a sense of space as well as encourage communication and community between family members. The ground level houses living and dining spaces, a kitchen and restroom, while the upper floors are connected via a double-height family room and comprise bedrooms, a guest room and large outdoor terrace. A basement is used for entertaining and storage, and includes a small gym and television lounge. In an usual move for Delhi residences, the service block and parking lot are placed at the rear of the building.

The design team used dense exposed brick to ensure a pleasant temperature inside the home and the irregular fenestrations of the front public space are countered with a strict geometric grid. The exposed brick on the facade and exposed concrete ceilings and bright colours inside are references to Le Corbusier’s masterplan for the city of Chandigarh, while elsewhere traditional northern Indian elements like local Indian sandstone create further contrast to British colonial architecture references like teak louvered facade and interior terrazzo flooring.

The Tower House is one of RKSD’s first opportunities to be involved in the interior design of a project, and Khosla’s approach here was ‘to extend the architectural spirit to the interiors’. The results are ceilings and walls of exposed brick and plastered surfaces, a modernist approach to colour, with primary colours used throughout, and furniture — alongside that of Italian brands like Flexform, Molteni, Minnotti, LEMA and Vitra —by prominent architects who Khosla and his team have long admired, from Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier to Gio Ponti, Eileen Gray and Eero Saarinen. 

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Edmund Sumner

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