Modern House | By Mankani Architecture & Construction – Karachi ,Pakistan


Modern House

Location Phase VI, DHA Karachi
Plot Size 600 sq yd
Covered Area 4760 Sft.
Client  Mr. Asim Siddiqui

Architecture Design Firm

Mankani Architecture & Construction

Structural Engineer Mr. Ansar ul Haq
Project  Date August 2004 – November 2006

Walking Through Walls

In the children’s movie, Labyrinth, Sarah finds herself in what appears at first to be a maze without any twists and turns. It seems like a straight pathway that goes on and on endlessly. When she has given up hope of getting anywhere, a little worm advises her to try and walk through the wall right opposite her and in this manner she finds an entrance into the labyrinth.

Walking through walls is an interesting architectural concept and it was the starting point for the design of this residence. We wanted to start the experience of this house by making a person ‘walk though a wall’ and into a transition space where he can then make a choice about which way to go. One of the choices leads into the house, while the other leads to a ‘dead end’ – much like in the movie, except that in this case both choices are benign and the dead end is actually a beautiful courtyard.

In a modest way, this residence demonstrates how the surreal architecture of films can be translated into real physical space. Of course the unfettered experience of film can not be transformed wholly into real experience but the essential idea can be brought to life. The advantage is that some of the emotional content of the fictional idea is retained and enriches the real experience.

In this case, Sarah’s entrance into the Labyrinth was constructed cinematically to embody the idea of mystery, of discovery and of choice. These ideas were also important for us in the design of this residence. A house is a private building that should be veiled to some extent rather than completely exposed, and should unveil itself to the visitor gradually. The choice of journeys makes the experience more interactive and multilayered. There is more than one experience possible when visiting this house. If there were several possibilities and each visit was in some way a different journey then the collective experience of the space would be a combination of the memory of all these journeys, which would be rich and multi-layered.

From the outside this house is a very private, introverted, almost mysterious dwelling that is bounded by massive walls.
It is entered by conceptually stepping through a wall into a transition space which offers two possibilities – one way leads into the house and the other to a courtyard. On the inside, the house is open and the internal and external spaces
stacked to allow vistas to penetrate deep into the house. There is a lot of light and transparency.

The three dimensional space of the house is also built up of layers. Internal and external spaces are stacked in such a way as to allow vistas to penetrate deep into the house, passing through several spaces. For instance, a small strip of green space out front looks through a large opening into the formal courtyard, which connects through a glazed wall with the lounge and through to the back of the house.

From the little porch in front of the main door, one can view through the open pivot door into the foyer, and through the foyer into a transition space and from here through a large square window out into the backyard. From the foyer also, one can view into the formal living room through the glazed corner sliding walls and through this into the formal courtyard which opens at the other end into the bedroom.
The layering of spaces is complimented by the layering of planes. The concept is not restricted to the exterior, but permeates the interior as well, as in the red wall which hides the staircase behind it. Nor is it restricted to wall planes but roof planes also slide over each other – as in the parasol roof over the master bedroom. This dynamic structure is supported on a single beam and cantilevers both ways, extending over the balcony at the front to act as a sunshade.

In a ‘nutshell’ the house is veiled by high walls and retains a sense of mystery for the visitor – but for the occupants it is very open and provides deep and refreshing views.



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