Lijo.Reny.architects embrace the tropics in the paradisiacal oasis of Kerala’s ‘House That Rains Light’

APR 8, 2021 | By Saloni Rege
The dining area uses a table from Ajay Shah's Rubberband, AKFD chairs and Nexion cement-finished vitrified flooring tiles; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
A landscape pocket is paved with granite slab and gravel. It leads to the living room, where furniture from Rubberband and A Wooden Story sofa are placed; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Encompassed with scattered landscape, the living room houses Rubberband's wire stools and A Wooden Story sofa; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Rubberband's dining table is paired with AKFD chairs within a biophilic setting; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Cabinetry by 1000 Kitchens is decked with cement-finished veneer and nano white countertop with Hettich equipment; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
The kitchen countertop extends into a multifunctional console and study area with a AKFD chair; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
The blue hued bedroom on the ground floor opens into a landscaped setback area through sliding doors; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Nexion cement-finished and patterned vitrified tiles as well as a Rubberband chair are seen in the blue bedroom; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Customised artwork of candid photographs dots the bedroom; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Another outward looking capture of the blue bedroom; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
The sunny yellow room on the upper floor uses a Rubberband wire chair and customised wall artwork, and looks out to the green screen; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Vibrant red drapes this first floor bedroom, where a Rubberband wire chair takes centre stage; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
The series of skylights that illuminate the courtyard; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
The green screen extends over a metal canopy on the terrace. Seen at the back are clerestory windows and raised cylindrical skylights; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas
Cylindrical skylights over the staircase shaft are tucked in between the metal canopies, shaded by greens; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

Enveloped within a gated community, this tropical paradise christened ‘House That Rains Light’ by Lijo.Reny.architects celebrates nature by showering abundant ventilation, fluid circulation and sprinkles of serenity.

This tranquil, 2,950 sq ft home in Kerala is cocooned in a tight plot of residential fringe, with only the eastern front open to vacant land. The house breaks away from a compound wall demarcation, making the plot look larger and including the silent internal roads as usable space.

Rendered with volumetric compositions and spatial manifestations, the abode is fashioned for a young family of four (a couple and their two sons), building a sense of character and individuality. “Our first discussion took place almost four years ago. They were clear that they wanted an unconventional home with a sensory experience for the kids to grow in and make memories,” share architects Lijo Jos and Reny Lijo.

View of the tropical house from the street; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

Cascading over the facades of the house are green screens with flowering creepers and climbing vegetables. These also double up as shaded canopies on the terrace, which is perfect for unwinding, barbecues and revelries. “Waking up to the chirping of birds and nesting butterflies is a simple yet overwhelming joy,” says Reny. She adds, “The feature is pretty flexible. The clients can let the foliage grow for additional privacy or trim it for clear views.”

Three large frames of breathing screens are seen on the structure to filter air and daylight; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

The house is accessed through a shaded front yard that houses a parking area and a patio sit-out. It is wrapped in a biophilic essence and opens up to an interspersing horizontal and vertical layout that connects visually segregated spaces under an open-plan. The ground level blends the functional areas with scattered landscape pockets, two of which are sky-lit courts (along the stairway).

The crimson hued bedroom is accessed from the family room and overlooks a skylit courtyard; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

On the lower level, the living and dining areas appear seamless. Also accommodated on this storey are a blue bedroom, a kitchen and a two-way washroom (shared by the dining and bedroom)  beneath the staircase.

Both the upstairs rooms open up to the sky-lit courtyard. The red wire chair is from Rubberband; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

The home boasts a neutral palette of exposed concrete, cement-finished vitrified flooring and pristine walls. This makes it an ideal backdrop for highlighting primary shades that are seen in the furniture details, edges, soft furnishings, patterned tiles and customised wall artworks. “We chose these colours because they are relatable and timeless. They bring out the inner child in us and also reflect the lively personalities of the homeowners,” reveals Lijo.

The red bedroom features Rubberband’s wire chair and Nexion cement finished vitrified floor; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

A similar design language continues on the upper level that comprises of the family room (presently, an indoor playground for the kids), two bedrooms (crimson and sunny yellow) that overlook the courtyard, a powder bathroom and a balcony.

The powder bathroom on the upper floor is dressed in Nexion cement finished vitrified tiles and exposed concrete ceiling with skylights; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

Talking about the most challenging part, Reny shares, “Crafting tight spaces to look bigger required detailed design sensibilities and were quite a task. Meanwhile, we’ve enjoyed designing the green canopies the most! They are an extension of a much needed garden.”

The two-way washroom on the ground floor is shared by the dining and the blue bedroom; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

On the terrace level, raised portions of cylindrical skylights surface and spill diffused light inside the house. The elevated height also gives a scope to strategically place clerestory openings that remain shut during rains and open up for stack effect during hot summers to maintain a cooler climate within.

View of the cylindrical skylight; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

“Designing intelligently with passive cooling strategies, cross-ventilation, breathing green screens and natural daylight is the biggest green building aspect to reduce artificial energy consumption and implement cost-cutting. We’ve also given provision for solar panels and solar heater on the terrace,” says Lijo.

The sky-lit courtyard as viewed from the lower level; Photographs by Praveen Mohandas

Peppered with a luxury of comfort, nature and approachable decor, this house is a rich testament to the quality of spaces and experiences, unravelled through its core. “The abode is designed as a module for the urban scenario, resonating with the idea that spaces should be liberating, and not containing,” concludes the creative duo.