Shunyam, Pune

An Urban Oasis

Location : Pune, Maharashtra
Status : Completed
Plot Area : 418 Sq. m.
Built up Area : 316 Sq. m.

Gentle sounds of lapping water and twittering birds create a ‘zen’ like ambience for this urban oasis in Mundhwa, Pune. Sitting on a 400-sq. m. plot amidst dense residential structures, Shunyam houses a void of spiritual ‘nothingness’; enclosed by a screen of green plants. Self-generated views and a lack of direct openings toward the outside allow inhabitants to cut off from external clutter, and engage in a peaceful, meditative lifestyle.

The 297 sq.m. of built-up area caters to a joint family, incorporating natural elements of earth, fire, water, sky and space; within a myriad of functional zones such as a prayer area, a meditation room, a kid’s playroom and common family spaces.

Detached solid floating walls allow natural light and cross ventilation into the interiors, through light passages, skylights, glazed flooring strips, and clerestory windows. At the same time, a lack of direct openings toward the outside allow privacy to inhabitants, cutting out any intrusion from the external world. Light is administered into private spaces through crevice-like strips made by offsetting walls and rendering the gaps in glass blocks. Structural elements lie exposed through canopies, staircases, grills and skylights, lending the building a minimalistic elegance.

The entire residence uses passive technologies for optimum utilization of daylight and solar energy. Natural cross ventilation is facilitated by the use of monitor windows to facilitate stack effect. Solar panels and vermicompost pits allow environment sensitive maintenance. A kitchen garden plantation on the terrace reduces solar heat gain while reclaiming the displaced landscape during construction. Rapidly renewable materials like MDF, cane, wood, paper and cotton, minimize the environmental impact of construction.

The design allows a seamless interaction between man and nature, by strategically generating views of bamboo curtains and water features all along the plot boundary. A transitional living room opens out to the elements by the flexible modulation of rolling screens and sliding doors. The double height dining space receives pre-cooled westerly breezes tempered by a landscaped water body along the plot line. Natural materials used in their raw forms, fuse the interiors with nature, creating a dynamic indoor-outdoor sensory experience. Shunyam embodies a spiritual oasis in the humdrum of urban life, a place to enjoy the sunrise, relish the sounds of chirping birds, experience the change of seasons, and connect with one’s inner self.