Moolé Mané

Longlisted in THE MERIT LIST AWARDS 20-21


A family Residence + extra renatable spaces

ITI LAYOUT, New BEL road , Bangalore

1800 sq.ft.

Built-up area
5400 sq.ft.

5 Bedroom main house with 2 ancillary rental single bedroom units

Venkatesh Rao

Meeta Jain, Pritim, Atheya, Komal G, Vikas G, Vasanth P, Neha S

Structural Consultants
B L Manjunath & Co.

Sreeraksha Contractors

Manoj Sudhakaran

Moolé Mané mean a corner house in Kannada.

The obtusely angled corner site with a tree locally known as “helicopter tree” presents a unique anchor and an opportunity to explore an urban house that shares dissolved boundaries with its natural context.

Conceptual stand : The family’s desire and love of plants provided the basic impetus to explore a ‘larger than life shaded balcony volume’ right in the corner, almost like a visible microcosm, towards which the internal spaces converge. This ‘open green courtyard’, both breaks and holds the overall form together, becoming the core and an integrating element of the house.  

Spatial features : The house is held by a rhythmically punctured compound wall that curves around the corner, concealing the house from the busier street while revealing it towards the inner lane. The large butterfly roof defines an enclosure, one that permeable for the elements of nature to engage with those within. The design seems to set the sharp and stark edges free by cutting them out beautifully resolving them with vegetation that actively interacts with the exterior.

The enclosed spaces have been recessed inwards as the void towards the front of the house accommodates the branches of the helicopter tree that is growing into it. This void, sheltered by the canopy roof, celebrates the presence of the sun through an oculus that scales it down to a playful dancing circle that jumps across the balcony throughout the day.

The presence of a water body right below the main staircase invites an act of climbing and marks a dramatic start to the journey. The flight ascends towards the entrance portico that diagonally opens to the colossal corner court. Here a grooved flooring of rippling pattern provides ‘a sense of presence and containment’ along with a perforated screen that is kept higher than a railing to provide necessary privacy from the street. While the dining and kitchen spaces physically connect to this outer volume, at the upper levels, a jutting out corner window sit out (a ‘Juliet balcony’) a staggering upper gallery, and the circular skylight become playful animators pivoting around this volume, like actors in a stage.

The main upper house is entered through a crafted door made of teak and white glass punctures, bringing the visitor into a low volume sitting room with its own corner Buddha balcony. Further, a sense of surprise continues into the larger inner volume of the family space, almost serving as an ‘introverted sibling to the extroverted courtyard’. With its own pulls and plays of elements within, the house possesses an elemental and spatial change throughout. The inner wooden staircase further accentuates a ‘circumbulatory journey’, upwards where the center remains the family space but the peripheral experience constantly changes from an abutting western green screen wall, then across a bridge towards front corner court.

There are three bedrooms on this upper level, each of which acquires a different character and shape, from its location within the site geometry. The enclosed volumes of the house are generously opened up to the sun but with projections characterized by the planters. Each room in the house acts as a cozy corner, detached from the wholeness of the house.

The kitchen is one such space that is both whole in itself, with the aptly proportioned and positioned ribbon windows, and also comes together with the wholeness of the house in its presence. The journey leads upwards towards a terraced scape’ providing playful perspectives through gaps and skylight to relate back to the street and green volume below. The roof modulations make it easy for people to find their comfortable positions on the roof, either sitting on stairs leading to tank or lying down on the angled roof, gazing at the sky yonder.

The experience of contrast runs throughout. The overall form and is too held by the ‘dual archetype’ by the grey heavy opaque base, versus the earthy lighter hovering roof on top. The main body, in between is kept muted neutral white and largely opaque towards both the streets, to serve as a framing device, bringing forth the recessed scoop open court and its playful elements as the dominant gift to the street scape.