Material Play at the Clay Abode

Transform Architects have helped create residences that celebrate nature and seamlessly create spaces that nurture. This new project of theirs located in Aluva, Kerala is one such home that uses natural materials in its outer layer to help in mitigating the forces of nature while creating spaces that flow one onto the other creating a uniting space for the family.

The last project by Transform Architects that SCALE wrote about was a house nestled in nature, with layers of fascia to create both a visual barrier as well as to permeate the house with the positive impact of nature like sunlight and fresh air at the same time reducing heat. Vaishnavi and Praveen Mohandas, the principal architects of Transform Architects seem to be unmatched at creating spaces that have an integral touch with nature, either through space planning or through material play.

In this house called The Clay Abode, the architects have used an open plan with each room being visible and accessible, connecting to the home to its members through sights and sounds.

“The site is located in a quiet residential outskirt of Aluva town. The house is designed for a small family of three members,” explains Vaishnavi, “While designing the spaces we made sure that the family members can see each other and talk to each other even if they are in different spaces. This was the feeling we wanted to give the client, and therefore the house has an open plan, the foyer, the living, dining, kitchen and landscaped court and the stair court are visually connected. Large volume of spaces are introduced through the common areas.”

According to the architects, the client’s main requirement was to grow lot of trees in his plot and hence the entire master planning was done keeping this in mind: “The house was located at one corner of the plot and after studying the site surroundings and the buildings around the site, we decided to work with the natural building materials,” says Praveen.

The natural ventilation system is arranged through out the building with a two-layer-wall solution, especially in the south west and north east corner of the house. The layered wall, a Transform Architects watermark makes an appearance in this house too, creating a breathing space within, through layers that filters in light and air when needed.

“The ventilated clay hollow blocks layer and the mesh door layer helps in reducing the harshness of the sun inside the house and the house breathes on its own,” says Vaishnavi, “And they also provide natural ventilation and necessary privacy inside the house. The combination of clay hollow blocks, old clay tiles, wood work, natural Kota flooring, white painted back ground along with the green areas create a dramatic effects and warmth inside the house.”

The massing of the structure is kept very subtle and focused on highlighting the natural materials: clay, hollow blocks and walls.

“Made of reused clay tiles which not only used as an elevation treatment but used functionally to bring down the temperature inside the house. The connecting frame work is done in mild steel along the car porch, it becomes as a profile for the climbers, so that the building looks complete and as a whole one entity,” says Praveen.

The architects have not only created a house that uses natural resources, they have also helped in bringing the cost of the house down by using materials are that available near the site and also through innovative building techniques like the lightweight aluminium sandwich roofing system.

Project Details:

NAME OF THE PROJECT: Clay Abode, Prashant Residence


COMPLETION DATE: September 2021

AREA OF PLOT: 12.55 cents

BUILT UP AREA: 2860 sq,ft