House Under Shadows is actually two houses, connected through passive design elements to provide efficient space for two families in a sustainable way. The structure is located in Karnal, Haryana, India, and was designed by Zero Energy Design Lab.
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The two separate houses each feature all the elements of comfortable housing with attention to net-zero features while honoring the culture of the area. In a press release, the architects reported, “the design was inspired by the proximity and architectural elements of a palatial hotel in Karnal – Noor Mahal’s ‘chowk’ and ‘chhatris’ which are elements derived from the traditional Indian ‘havelis.’”
The homes are oriented north to south to take advantage of natural sun and cooling in the North Indian climate. Glazed windows minimize heat and glare while allowing natural light and views. They also facilitate natural ventilation.
A central courtyard between the two homes is clad in stone, taking advantage of its strong thermal attributes. Meanwhile, vertical gardens filter the air while helping to cool the space. The pool, central to each home, acts as a heat sink, collecting heat during the day and releasing it at night. Cantilevers throughout the design shade and shelter vertical walls for further heat reduction.
The most strikingly innovative feature of House Under Shadows is the additional roof that spans the courtyard and residences, bringing the separate units under a singular roof while maintaining privacy for the residents. According to the architects, this pergola reduces solar exposure by 50%, adding to the energy-efficient aspects of the space.
The Voronoi pattern throws light and shade throughout the interior space for an intriguing visual appeal. The shadow pattern is essentially part of the interior design, an element that is combined with the art and furnishings centered around natural colors and textures.
The team relied on a material palette of locally sourced materials with low and neutral carbon footprints that reflect heat and minimize the need for artificial cooling and lighting. This includes stone cladding and natural wood ceilings.
Images via Zero Energy Design Lab