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The dynamic facade

“The project was an interesting exercise to understand how the building interacts with the street,” says Divya Ethirajan, co-founder of Between Spaces.

elements of the house

The sliding screen, set a foot away from the glazing, rests independently on a mild steel framework with a simple channel designed for the screen to slide into.

The perforated sheets

The perforations on the sheet screens make the façade seem lighter, and gives it the effect of a lantern when the house is lit from the inside.

The making

“The team stood at the site to make mock-ups and ensure the laying of rat trap bond brick walls with the precision that was required to lay the electrical points embedded within the walls.”

Laying of the bricks

The exposed brick walls on either side are built using rat trap bonds, allowing the building to eliminate all excessive heat, as well as providing for privacy.

A sectional view of the facade

The external sheet shutters use sliding-folding mechanisms to allow the entry of natural light, the view of the streetscape and ventilation as required into the house, as well as the studio spaces.

The site

Built on a tight site, flanked by neighbours on three sides, the house was designed to optimise the front façade for their various requirements, like natural light, a view of the tree-lined street on the northern side and a slice of the almost always clear Bangalore sky.

The bedroom that opens out

“The perforated sliding screen gives us the flexibility to use it for different functional requirement be it the bedroom of the house or work area in office.”

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Lab 22 Nov 2017

Between Spaces redefines the purpose of a façade with simplicity and functionality

If you were to walk past the Ethirajan House in the morning, you would be greeted by the image of an exposed brick frame holding a dark metal facade with small perforations. Come by in the evening and you’ll see the same brick frame, this time with semi-open vertical metal louvres. As night falls, all that remains of the façade is clear glass, seemingly held by the exposed brick frame. Such is the dynamic evolution of the façade of the Ethirajan House. Curious to know more, CQ speaks to Divya Ethirajan, the owner of the house, and co-founder of the studio, Between Spaces.

Set on a 30’ x 40’ plot in Bangalore, the Ethirajan House accommodates both Divya Ethirajan’s house on the ground and first floor, as well as the Between Spaces studio on the upper levels. Built on a tight site, flanked by neighbours on three sides, the house was designed to optimise the front façade for their various requirements, like natural light, a view of the tree-lined street on the northern side and a slice of the almost always clear Bangalore sky. This led the team of three architects from the Between Spaces studio to choose to reinvent what a façade is capable of. 

The dynamic facade

“The project was an interesting exercise to understand how the building interacts with the street,” says Divya Ethirajan, co-founder of Between Spaces.

The conception of the dynamic façade

“The project was an interesting exercise to understand how the building interacts with the street,” says Divya Ethirajan, co-founder of Between Spaces. The façade essentially consists of sliding aluminium glazed windows with an external protective layer of perforated sheet shutter panel. The external sheet shutters use sliding-folding mechanisms to allow the entry of natural light, the view of the streetscape and ventilation as required into the house, as well as the studio spaces.

Straying away from the typical design approach of purely aesthetical façades, the Between Spaces team applies their core principles – keeping it simple, engaging and blending the material palette with contemporary undertones. “It is our attempt to get a slice of that borrowed landscape from the street,” elaborates Divya. 

elements of the house

The sliding screen, set a foot away from the glazing, rests independently on a mild steel framework with a simple channel designed for the screen to slide into.

“Unlike the traditional methods of MS grill work to secure the house, the sliding mechanism allows to slide open the shutters and enjoy the Bangalore, weather which is pleasant in most part of the year.”

The making of the façade

The materials that concoct this façade are primarily brick and perforated MS screens. The exposed brick walls on either side are built using rat trap bonds, allowing the building to eliminate all excessive heat, as well as providing for privacy. The perforated sheet screens grant distinctive flexibility to the façade while also helping to moderate the privacy of the inhabitants. 

The perforated sheets

The perforations on the sheet screens make the façade seem lighter, and gives it the effect of a lantern when the house is lit from the inside.

“The team stood at the site to make mock-ups and ensure the laying of rat trap bond brick walls with the precision that was required to lay the electrical points embedded within the walls,” Divya tells us. All of the mild steel fabrication was supervised by the team on site, making sure each shutter was uniform, and the operational mechanism was flawless. 

The making

“The team stood at the site to make mock-ups and ensure the laying of rat trap bond brick walls with the precision that was required to lay the electrical points embedded within the walls.”

The sliding screen, set a foot away from the glazing, rests independently on a mild steel framework with a simple channel designed for the screen to slide into. Serving well for the spaces enclosed, the entire sliding mechanism was fabricated on site, thus being highly effective, precise and economical. 

Laying of the bricks

The exposed brick walls on either side are built using rat trap bonds, allowing the building to eliminate all excessive heat, as well as providing for privacy.

 
A sectional view of the facade

The external sheet shutters use sliding-folding mechanisms to allow the entry of natural light, the view of the streetscape and ventilation as required into the house, as well as the studio spaces.

“The perforations on the sheet screens make the façade seem lighter, giving it the effect of a lantern when the house is lit from the inside.”

The user’s take

The screens, doubtlessly, lend a strong vocabulary to the site, along with the wire cut bricks that act as a security mechanism. “Unlike the traditional methods of MS grill work to secure the house, the sliding mechanism allows us to slide open the shutters and enjoy the Bangalore weather, which is pleasant during most parts of the year.” The perforations on the sheet screens make the façade seem lighter, and gives it the effect of a lantern when the house is lit from the inside. 

When asked if the façade works equally well in both, the context of a house as well as the workspace, Divya answers, “The perforated sliding screen gives us the flexibility to use it for different functional requirement be it the bedroom of the house or work area in office.” Adding that the brick walls on either side cuts down the noise and heat, as well as provides privacy, that has a significant impact on both the office and the residence. 

The bedroom that opens out

“The perforated sliding screen gives us the flexibility to use it for different functional requirement be it the bedroom of the house or work area in office.”

Needless to say, the façade does truly sways from the concept of a purely aesthetic façade, to a more substantial design aspect of the house itself. 

The site

Built on a tight site, flanked by neighbours on three sides, the house was designed to optimise the front façade for their various requirements, like natural light, a view of the tree-lined street on the northern side and a slice of the almost always clear Bangalore sky.

Don’t forget to check out more of Between Spaces’ interesting take on architecture on their website.