Traditional Timeless Architecture

A Culmination of Aspirations, Incisive Efforts and Emotions set neatly against the back drop of the classical era.


Text By: Ar.Rafia Hussain

Project: Private Residence
Location: Karachi, Pakistan
Site area: 4000sq yards
Floor area: 22,000 sqft
Firm: Ali Arshad Associates
Principal architect: Ali Naqvi
Project architect: Sarah Saifi
Structural engineer: Saifuddin M. Ali
Landscape design: Mrs. Irfan
Completion date: July 2010

This residence is based on a property of 4000sq yards, of which the landscape occupies 2000sq yards and the house sits on 2000sq yards, proudly owned by a client who wanted a grand house. The client along with his two children; a son and a daughter had a vision and the budget to get involved in this residential project which is timeless and truly ostentatious. They were well oriented and knew exactly what they wanted, in terms of design. The house caters to two families. These units are enveloped together to look as one unified house, in form and design, yet internally have been divided carefully to cater to each individual’s needs and wants. Each space has been given importance by the architect.

The pool is the focal point, the forms wrap around the pool. Special attention has been given to the details, from the water spouts to the Jacuzzi, the gazebo, the patterns on the floor of the pool created with the help of Mosaic tiles talk about the craftsmanship that made this house a success and very unique in nature.

The Classical ornamented profiles underline the constructional reading of the building. Moreover, the detailed façade and the grand windows translate into traditional, timeless architecture. The careful choreography of space and solid elements creates a dramatic spatial composition. Also, the intention with the massing of the house was to create a play with scale, to juxtapose the massive and monumental along with the minute and tactile. There is a strong connection between the indoors and the outdoors.

The horizontal and vertical forms set back on the site, allowing light to reach every room, thus creating a staggering effect. The forms of the house celebrate the movement of energy and the context. The intention was to have a well-articulated house with grand windows and double height spaces, not compromising on the privacy of the house and have nature incorporated.

As one enters through the gate, the grand driveway leads up to the classically adorned entrance. The cars are very strategically tucked away in the back drop. The landscape follows a carefully orchestrated composition that complements the architectural intentions.

Materials used in this residence have been carefully selected for a permanent finish. White stone has been used for Stone cladding accentuating the windows against a beige backdrop which is complimented by white mouldings. The intricate designs and patterns in Cast Iron used for the medallions and the balustrades bring the lightness and the flow to the volumes. The play of light and dark, shade and shadow are of major importance in this house. Moreover, the grand windows which are either double glazed or protected by pergolas and deep verandas to prevent excessive sunlight create a balanced equation. The use of glass and bevelled mirror, such as in the Dining room give an open feeling. Since the Clients like to entertain, the Dining Room has been given due importance and the reflections; views along with its functionality give grandeur to the whole setting.
The composition on the floors created with a combination of marble tiles, Crema Marfil, Serpegent Beige, Carara, Travetine and special tiles custom designed specifically for this project aesthetically enhance the residence.

The daughter’s unit allows natural day light to wash the walls and lights up the foyer area to her unit through a skylight. The corner windows lit up the space and provide views to the pool and the deep verandas. The wooden floors bring elegance to her unit. The Son’s unit is accessible through a separate entrance and the other one from within the house. Following modern lines, the glass bridge is very unique, making the passage very ceremonial and connecting the son’s unit to the main house. The interiors have a personality of their own, with spaces that are warm and with an artistic flair. The son’s unit is directly linked with the Basement. The Basement is also accessible through the main house. The basement becomes the epitome for entertainment. This part of the house includes the state-of-the- art home theatre, indoor Jacuzzi and the steam rooms. The white and black checkered floor adds the oomph to the spaces.
Last but not the least, at night, the strategically placed led ropes that encompass the driveway and along the mouldings create a visually appealing façade and accentuate the features and details in this house. The lights in and around the pool highlight the waterspouts and the patterns created by using different mosaic tiles, setting the mood.

The details, finishes, the incorporation of nature and the visual appeal make this house an artistic haven. In retrospect, this residence is a culmination of incisive efforts, aspirations and emotions set neatly against the back drop of the Classical era.

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