Farm House, Thudiyalur

Thudiyalur is a small village near Coimbatore. Like most old farms in this area it was originally a cotton farm and converted to other crops after the region wise failure of cotton farms failed several years ago. The owners lived in the city and spent their weekends at the farm whenever possible. Originally there was only a large open sump lined with glazed tiles which was used as a swimming when necessary and otherwise to irrigate the crops. By its side there was a room which was used as a living and dining room and two small bed rooms which shared a toilet. It was a very basic but sound structure. Next to the building there is a very large irrigation well from which water was pumped to the sump. When the younger generation took over they were keen to upgrade the house and use it regularly during weekends and holidays.

The re-design involved major changes to the existing structure and a conversion of the sump into a good swimming pool. As in most such redesigns, windows had to be reoriented and enlarged, interiors redesigned and additions made to increase the number of bed rooms, kitchen, car porch etc. The challenge was in integrating the three features – the sump, the house and the well into a visually interesting and functional entity. By adding the car porch in the front, a courtyard was formed between the house and the well making it into a unique experience for those entering the house. A veranda was added by the side of the courtyard which led to the living room. On the opposite side of the living room a large french window was added to access the swimming pool, thereby visually connecting all three elements. An additional bed room was built on the first floor with an open stair leading up to it from the dining area. The original building had a flat reinforced concrete roof. It was decided to retain this but an attic space with a tiled sloping roof with overhangs which would shield the roof and walls from direct sun light and rain was created. The interiors were also fully redone in a modern, minimalist fashion.

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