Located in Ghaziabad, in the north of India, the Cantilever House is a modern residence that reimagines regional vernacular architecture. Designed by Delhi-based ZED Lab, the 725 square metres house incorporates various sustainable and biophilic strategies to respond to the client's love for the outdoors.
The central focus of the design is to maximise the residents’ thermal comfort and wellbeing by creating spaces for them to contemplate Nature. Located in a residential suburb, the house stands out in the neighbourhood through a combination of form-making and choice of materials. Here, the form becomes an instrument to achieve the sustainability ambitions of the project, creating a built layout that responds to the local conditions.
The building’s cantilever is its most distinctive feature on the exterior, lending the house its name and anchoring its design vocabulary. Although this design feature was initially met with scepticism by the client, the architect was able to execute the design, making it economically viable and producing a unique identity for the house.
"The overarching design intent, however, was to create a sense of privacy while channelling an open, connected environment for the family. This took shape through an interesting interplay of living spaces, with the main living areas occupying the ground floor and the private areas located on the first floor," Sachin Rastogi, the founder of ZED Lab, told Design City.
Sustainable design strategies lie at the heart of this residence, which aims to assimilate traditional building wisdom and find an appropriate expression within the contemporary context. Inside, adequate thermal comfort is achieved by layering private and living spaces, courtyards, and service areas. The architecture creates fluid, interstitial spaces, seamlessly transitioning from the inside to the outside. The visitor is led through the lush landscape garden into the east-facing living room, which through its sliding walls, helps extend it towards the landscape, acting as the extension of the room.
The biophilic strategies are extended inside the house through the water court located on the north side of the house. Referred to as summer court, this lounge-like space is filled with natural light, greenery, and a waterbody. The room also features a glazing wall that admits daylight while avoiding heat and glare during the summer months.
The south side of the house features private spaces, often referred to as nighttime spaces; these are characterised by optimum thermal mass. In addition, the south and west facade opening has been minimised, featuring double glazed windows and a pergola to reduce further heat gain. Temperatures in Ghaziabad during the summer month can regularly hit north of 45 degrees, and a combination of passive design strategies ensures resident wellbeing and a comfortable environment inside the house.
Additionally, the landscape is used as an essential element throughout the house. The front and rear lawn and the water court double up as recharge pits for rainwater harvesting. The water court acts as a heat sink and the vertical garden contributes to the clean air inside the house. The green skin also helps in trapping dust and pollutants, adding to the home's thermal comfort.
Rastogi continues, "The design emphasises responsible living through its layout, the use of passive cooling techniques and by drawing energy from renewable resources. Metaphorically, the house is an oxymoron, serene and cool, with minimalistic decors, yet simultaneously, adventurous in its design approach."
The Cantilever House is a reminder that sufficient thermal comfort can be achieved in our homes, using transitional spaces and their importance in this part of the world. The house promotes wellbeing through various bioclimatic strategies informed by the Indian vernacular that creates a microclimate for the residents.
Name of Project: Cantilever House (Raj Nagar Residence)
Location: Raj Nagar, Ghaziabad
Name of Client: Mr. Karanveer Singh
Principal Architect: Zero Energy Design Lab
Design Team: Lead: Sachin and Payal Rastogi | Team: Rohan Mishra, Naveen Pahal, Sakshi Jain
Site Area: 830 sq. m
Built-Up Area: 725 sq. m
Start Date: 2017
Completion Date: April 2020
Photographer: Noughts and Crosses | Andre J. Fanthome
ZED Lab is a Delhi-based, research-driven, architecture and interior design studio specializing in net-zero energy buildings since 2009. With sustainability at the core of its design process, and architecture as its synthesis, ZED Lab works towards improving the quality of life in symbiosis with the environment through the holistic lens of research, design, and construction. Through its award-winning projects across residential, hospitality, institutional, commercial, and industrial sectors, the studio seeks to push the envelope for economically viable building systems, optimized for energy savings.
As vision facilitators, idea generators and design integrators, ZED Lab work collaboratively to formulate strategies that draw inspiration from the Indian vernacular for present and future needs. ZED Lab’s design approach is informed by a deep and innate understanding and application of age-old bioclimatic wisdom, using cutting-edge technological tools such as parametric design. Through climatic studies, simulation models, custom software, and physical experiments, the studio explores every facet of design that goes on to determine the nature, shape, and impact of a project, making it uniquely positioned to deliver long-lasting and resilient solutions.