The Stage is Set at Nisarga Art Hub

Nestled amidst the verdant tapestry of paddy fields in Ernakulam in Kerala, India, lies the Nisarga Art Hub, an architectural marvel by Wallmakers that celebrates the essence of vernacular architecture, modern functionality, and artistic expression.

More than just a residence, the Nisarga Art Hub becomes a stage for shared stories. Born from the vision of a musical family, it welcomes artists and cultural enthusiasts, fostering a vibrant space for community engagement. Designed by Wallmakers, with a design team comprising Vinu Daniel, Oshin Mariam Varughese, this 2557 sq ft project was completed in 2023.

Entry to the Nisarga Art Hub. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

A Reimagined Kerala Roof

The roof during the concert. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

The project’s design draws inspiration from the iconic “Kerala Roofs,” renowned for their exceptional thermal insulation and temperature regulation capabilities. However, the architects faced a conundrum: while these roofs offered undeniable benefits, their inherent darkness often clashed with modern preferences for light-filled spaces. This challenge sparked a creative solution.

Section of the roof.

The architects embarked on a journey of reimagining the traditional roof. Strategic breaks were incorporated, allowing for the integration of skylights that not only bathed the interior in natural light but also transformed into an open-air amphitheater.

The Stage is set on the Nisarga Art Hub and the building is the perfect stage!

This ingenious design element perfectly aligns the 35° angle of the roof with the 30° angle of the amphitheater, creating a unique and functional space for artistic gatherings. Imagine the gentle breeze carrying the melodies of a musical performance as the audience sits bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun!

Light filtering in the interior spaces. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

The living room lit up with the skylight. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

Transforming Spaces for Multifunctionality

The versatility of the Nisarga Art Hub extends far beyond its amphitheater. A series of wooden planks strategically placed over the swimming pool effortlessly convert it into a stage, capable of hosting open-air concerts for up to 80 people.

The Nisarga Art Hub at night. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

This innovative approach maximises space utilisation and fosters a sense of community engagement, allowing the hub to seamlessly adapt to diverse artistic needs. This creates a vibrant dance/music performance unfolding on the water’s surface, the ripples reflecting the vibrant energy of the crowd.

Finding Sustainable Solutions to Blend Innovation with Ecology

The commitment to sustainability is a resounding note throughout the project. The Shuttered Debris Wall Technique, a testament to the architects’ ingenuity, utilises construction debris from neighboring towns and soil from the site itself to create load-bearing walls.

The Living Area. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

This technique not only reduces environmental impact but also showcases a responsible approach to resource management, minimising the need for virgin materials. These walls whisper stories of their past lives, repurposed from forgotten fragments into a structure that stands strong and proud.

Bedroom shielded from the afternoon sun. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

Furthermore, the west-facing guest rooms are shielded from the afternoon sun by a unique curtain of creepers that grow on discarded racks sourced from a scrapyard. This upcycled element not only provides shade but also adds a touch of eco-conscious charm to the design, demonstrating a commitment to repurposing waste materials in a creative and functional manner. Picture lush greenery cascading down the facade, a testament to the transformative power of nature’s embrace.

The Toilet. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

Integrating Light, Air, and Open Spaces

The Muttam. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesylam

The strategic placement of breaks in the roof allows for natural light to filter through, diffused by jute sack rolls. This not only creates a warm and inviting ambiance but also facilitates natural ventilation, ensuring a comfortable and healthy environment.

Reclaimed laterite blocks from demolished buildings form the verandah, echoing the traditional “Muttams” found in Kerala homes. This subtle nod to the region’s architectural heritage adds a layer of cultural richness to the Nisarga Art Hub, weaving a narrative of respect for the past within the contemporary design.

Dining table. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesyla

Beyond the Built: A Philosophy of Harmony

Floor seating for riyaz (music practice). Photo Credit: Syam Sreesyla

The design philosophy behind the Nisarga Art Hub is akin to music itself. It celebrates the importance of pauses and empty spaces, recognising that silence can be just as impactful as sound. The built architecture seamlessly integrates with open spaces, creating a harmonious dialogue between human creation and the natural world.

Entry to the home. Photo Credit: Syam Sreesyla

The Nisarga Art Hub stands as a testament to the power of innovative design that embraces tradition, sustainability, and artistic expression.

It is a space that not only fosters community but also serves as a beacon of environmental responsibility, inspiring future generations to build a more harmonious relationship with their surroundings.

Ground Floor Plan of the Nisarga Art Hub.

Imagine a vibrant tapestry woven from art, nature, and community, where the Nisarga Art Hub stands as a testament to the transformative power of living in harmony with the world around us.