Cabin home in Bengaluru by Taliesyn redefines the pleasures of simple living with its earthy tones
SEP 13, 2023 | By Vaishnavi Nayel Talawadekar
Most weekends when they’re there, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Parinita Narain can be found on the katte (Kannada for ‘bench’) in the courtyard, sometimes with a friendly neighbour, always with some piping hot filter coffee. For the couple, such weekend sojourns are a regular occurrence — the happy result of a long-ago manifesto to escape the city more often, albeit on their own terms. “A weekend home was the obvious solution,” says Shalini Chandrashekar, Principal and Director of Bengaluru-based architecture and design practice Taliesyn (co-founded with architect Mahaboob Basha in 2007), who were tapped by the couple to breathe life into their recently acquired 3,800 sq ft plot in Bengaluru.
When it came to the brief, Aprameya and Parinita, who have an eight-year-old daughter, had a checklist ready: open-plan layout, multi- functionality, kid-friendly spaces, and kattes—lots of them. “The initial brief was very simple: just a one bedroom, one bathroom space where they could relax and rejuvenate,” shares Shalini. Adding that for Aprameya—a start-up founder and angel investor, and a fourth generation Bengalurean—it was important that the home nod to its time-honoured neighbours. That meant three things: embracing the vernacular, keeping nature close, and above all, casting the spotlight on the katte.
For Shalini, the main priority was working out how to retain the mango tree and jackfruit tree that presided the site. “We ended up making several architectural edits to accommodate them,” recalls the architect, for whom the trees were welcome emblems of the past, akin to the architecture around. In a bid to ground the dwelling in the landscape, Shalini lent the 2,045 sq ft structure, the character of a cabin house, with high ceilings, imperceptible thresholds, and cement oxide floors and walls (which were completed in a single sitting to achieve a seamless finish).
Set along the east-west axis, the house enjoys the sun’s enduring presence. Of course, it isn’t the orientation alone that helps romance the sunshine. It’s also the way the home unfolds, at once upward and outward, blurring the line between nature and the built form. The entrance, marked by a pair of 18 ft tall bifold doors, serves as a curious antithesis to the home’s scale and signature, which is an object lesson in paradoxes. For example, a double-height volume comprising the living and dining areas and the kitchen, also plays host to a mezzanine floor, which houses the master bedroom.
Likewise, earthy tones throughout the dwelling evoke the Deccan landscape, whilst the cement oxide walls serve as a cooling antidote to the louvred windows and wooden furniture. Below the mezzanine hides a washroom with a full-sized walk-in closet and a concrete basin cast in- situ. For Shalini, the diversity of form and levels is merely a metaphor for the various avatars the home must assume (Aprameya and Parinita imagined hosting friends and family there, so it also had to be suited for entertaining).
The katte makes a reappearance in the dining room, then again outside, beneath each of the windows, masquerading as an extended windowsill. “We imagined it as the home’s protagonist,” explains Shalini, noting that for the family, most days begin and end on the katte, with filter coffee and unfiltered conversation in ever abundant supply.
For Aprameya, the jackfruit tree and mango tree, the friendly neighbours, the katte and the filter coffee are little hat-tips to his childhood, re-lived now through the eyes of his daughter. “It’s as if the decades in between just melted away—it’s life coming full circle,” he signs off with a smile.