Stone house in Jaipur: rediscover and evolve the sandstone as a building material
Climate : Hot and Dry
Temperature : Average 25*C/ Max 42*C- Min 8*C
Rajasthan is synonymous with sandstone as a building material but sadly, over the last few decades, this material has been reduced to a 'cladding 'medium and its potential as a robust and sustainable structural element has not been explored.
The house in Jaipur presented us with an opportunity to explore and evolve a method of building that has been prevalent in traditional buildings for centuries. We laid out a simple brief: no material other than stone should be used for construction.
The traditional method of load bearing construction relied on the impermeable thickness of walls. This was reengineered to develop a hollow interlocking structural wall system that creates a more effective thermal break, provides space to integrate services within the wall cavity, and effectively reduces the material consumption by 30%.
Floor systems alternate between vaults and large single span stone pieces. Every building element from the basement raft/retaining walls/lintels/door and window jambs/reveals/stairs/screens etc has been made from stone blocks, either from the quarry ( superstructure elements) or excavated from the site ( substructure elements).
The house is arranged around a narrow courtyard that extends into even narrower slits and fissures as it weaves its way through the house, essentially drawing on the proportions of voids and interstitial spaces of traditional dwellings as a method to counter the effect of the harsh summer sun.
Large front and rear facing glazing is shaded by deep overhangs and operable, hand-cut stone screens to modulate light, privacy, and views.
Hard sandstone ( Jodhpur stone) is quarried 45mins away from the site.
At our request, the quarry foreman reverted to the “ splitting” stone technique using traditional stonemasonry tools instead of the high-yield gangsaw extraction that is machine intensive and eliminates the natural stone grain. Splitting the stone mobilizes the human touch, limits the processing, and retains the natural Earth imprint of the stone.
CRAFT + ENGINEERING:
Stonemasons from the surrounding villages have worked stone with their hands for generations. The accumulated knowledge of the past along with the theory of Engineering created an interesting and often contradictory overlap of intelligences that was most often resolved by the Head Stonemason, including identifying the optimal size of stone that could be carried and laid by 2 masons with minimal mechanical assistance ( unlike brick, there is no Standard stone size).
The purview of Craft, often limited to embellishment, artifice, and object, was expanded to the building scale. Easily consumable symbology is supplanted by the primal and essential deployment of material resource and craft in a space that is both Ancient and Contemporary.
Approximately 5-7*C variation can be observed between the exterior and interior. This is due to the thermal mass of material and the “cavity” construction.
Dry Stone Construction:
A minimal amount of steel such as tie-rods and shear pins reinforce the stone for seismic performance. Lime mortar is used only to seal the exterior joints.
From the outside the House is a mystery, an abstract Monolith, or maybe a stack of monoliths that echoes the raw, primal gravitas of a natural artefact , a “ found” boulder. The act of excavation, perforation, splitting is simply a need to adapt to the pa
The large cantilever of the upper level is an act of speculation and defiance of its predominantly gravity-respecting ethos. The abstract, stacked monolith is constantly changing as the Interior life is pr
The abstract monolith allows a slow revealing of its anatomy. Perforations in the screens, narrow fissures, like cracks or gaps formed between naturally stacked stones filter light and allow passage into t
The main entry into the house through a split between monumental stone walls leads to a naturally ventilated courtyard that connects the ground, sunken court, and the sky. Even within a restricted footprin
Large circular openings, each one crafted with large blocks of stone heighten the sense of excavation into the Inner Void. The overlaps of mass, texture, and light emerge from a process of discovery that a
The Central Inner Void binds the house and creates shaded links to its different parts. Within this space, the morphology of the stone building elements are revealed. It has a labyrinthine quality, like a
The Central Inner Void is “ Excavated” from stone, its platonic volume gradually inhabited with smaller connecting monoliths ( stairs/bridges). This through small, calibrated openings in the walls and cei
The dining space, with its natural stone vaulted ceiling , opens into the inner and outer courtyards, retaining the flow of space through the house. Its scale and formation create the sense of being excava
The sunken courtyard brings light, nature, and a sense of the outdoors to the lower level. The “ Oculus” expresses the honesty of the compression structure and is a testament to the priceless knowledge and
The light into the living and sleeping spaces is controlled through the operation of hand-crafted stone screens ( Jaalis). The naturally textured weight of the compression vaults amplifies the ethereal lig
The Central Outer Court is like a vertical “ Street”. It brings light and air into the house, but more importantly , it is a space of Silence and Reflection around which the house is organized.
Axonometric and Construction methodology
Malik Architecture and Fabien Charuau
Various elements implementing traditional knowledge of building in Stone
Malik Architecture and Fabien Charuau
Ground Floor Plan
First Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan
Section through the central inner void
Section through the Central inner void and outer court
Stone course elevation
Stone course elements and construction methodology
Kamal Malik, Arjun Malik, Ketan Chaudhary
Payal Hundiwala, Soumya Shukla, Neha Kotian
Bharath Ramamrutham and Fabien Charurau
MALIK ARCHITECTURE is a 45-year-old design practise based in Mumbai. Founder and principal architect, Kamal Malik, was born and raised in the hills of North India and to this day, nature remains the source of his inspiration. He completed his studies at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi. He is a follower of the Patanjali school of yoga, concept of time, continuity, reflection and of silence through which a syntax of metaphors is developed, allowing him to comment on subjects ranging from urban decay and regeneration to the more intangible notions of homogeneity and purity.
His son Arjun returned from Columbia University in 2005. There seemed to be a growing disdain for 'overly intellectualised architecture' and the work pointed towards the development of an idiom that would reconcile the intellectual and intuitive aspects of architecture, that would provide a tangible link to the past without getting nostalgic and would be technologically progressive.