The residence is situated on a small corner plot of 7.5 x 12.5 metres, at the cross road of Muthumariamman kovil street and the ambour salai, a busy prominent street in Pondicherry. The name derived from the fact that opposite the site is a local fish market and the client's liking for aquariums. The design had to combat the smell of fish, the menace of crows, noise and dust from the adjacent Canal Street.
A study of the settlement patterns of the surrounding area – which primarily consists of row houses, some of which date 200 years – showed the utilisation of courtyards to attain good lighting, ventilation and acoustics. These courtyards are often positioned to only one side of the houses. This local typology has been adapted into Fish House, through the form of a narrow courtyard (1.2 m wide) running along the western side. Contained within this courtyard is the buildings entire infrastructure e.g. fresh water and waste water pipelines.
The ground floor has a meditation hall, small library and study, bathroom and kitchenette. A pond running along the eastern wall of the site provides a sense of serenity and helps cool off the radiating heat coming from the east.
Catering to the client’s needs, each floor plan is different. The ground plan is dedicated to meditation and visitors, while the upper three floors are private apartments for the family. The concrete slabs have an infill of aerated cement concrete blocks to reduce sound travelling through the floor, as well providing thermal insulation.
The green wall coursing its way up and down the east and south facade is designed for its thermal and aesthetic properties, as well as to provide shelter for local small birds, which have increasingly lost their nesting grounds in Pondicherry. The balconies and terrace bear large planters of Curtain Veil and Bougainvillea that cascades down upon a steel frame structure with chain link netting.
The residence is also partly available as a homestay.
Client: Biswanath Jena
Site Area: 93 m²
Built Up Area: 388 m²
Type: Residence & Airbnb
Team: Mona Doctor-Pingel, Nancy Agarwal, Henrik Dutz, Abhishek K. Ramesh.
Structure: G. Kumaresan
Contractor: Mohan Constructions
Photo Credits: Santosh Kumar
Drone Photos: Prabuddha Patro