Challenges of designing a House on a Narrow Plot in India
It is very common to find plots in India which are very narrow in shape, with very minimal dimensions on the front side of the plot that usually abuts the road. Most often than not it shares a common plot boundary line with its neighbouring plots on two sides or even on all three sides. This makes it very critical to design a house as there is no setback space left for a walk around the house in case of fire, which means there will be no space for providing windows or openings on its sides which are critical for light and ventilation of the rooms. In such scenarios, a light well, shaft or a central courtyard is what we prefer to consider. There are variety of ways a skylight can be incorporated over the central court of the house, but is it good enough? So in the quest to have more light, ventilation and a view from inside to outside is necessary and here are some ideas which may be considered while designing.
- As light and ventilation go hand in hand it is essential to have split levels for different floors in the house to allow central terrace skylight opening to work for most of the internal spaces.
- A courtyard necessarily doesn’t need to be the central part of the house but it can be designed to be even in the corners and still work well and provide enough light and ventilation inside.
- As the front facade is the most important part of the plot it has the maximum amount of wall surface area of the building so this can be designed in a way so that it can be broken down into more no of surfaces which will allow to take more openings. These opening can be windows or fixed glass or ventilators, but eventually all of them contribute to one goal of having sufficient light and ventilation through the house.
- It has seldom been seen that a large space gets filled up with lot more furniture, artefacts and artwork on the wall, so in a narrow plot the essentials take over all of that and makes it much more easier and convenient for the family to use and maintain the space.
- An internal staircase plays a crucial role in connecting different levels of a house so it should really be as minimal in design and size as possible so as to make optimal use of the horizontal floor spaces.
A well connected, minimal and well lit up house is all that is needed to create that sense of comfort for a family living in an urban environment.