Site Development And Landscaping of Tara Housing, New Delhi
Tara Apartments, the concept of low-rise high density housing reflects the vernacular form that was popular in India in 1970‘s.
The character is achieved by stacking the dwelling units in two decks, with upper ones stepped back to form a terrace for each family. This configuration resulted in a central area which allows the units to shade each other against the hot dry climate of North India. The central community area is landscaped with trees; running water and trellis were proposed along with trees so as to humidify and cool the dry winds. However, it is not executed.
The dwelling units are arranged similar to that of row houses. Of which the central street is developed as multifunctional landscape spine serving as a major circulation area, community space, children's play area and visual green affecting the micro-climate.
The two longitudinal parallel decks are surrounded by open space on one side and enclosed
by visual green on the other. The spaces are segregated with respect to various activities and organised in response to the built form .
Overall Master Planning
The site has five major zones; the built dwelling units aligned North-South, peripheral parking area along North-West and North boundary walls, enclosed community space, children's play area on the South, and passive recreation area on South-East.
The services, water tank and power house are concealed in the 3m level difference of site contours and are visually enhanced as a feature by landscaping. The parking area on the NW is on the lower level following site contours and is visually separated from the Dwelling Units.
This organisation is functional; due to lack of active usage along the South East and South periphery the areas leave an impression of left out spaces. The central space overlooked by the dwelling units make the space more usable.The deliberate isolation of the car parking reduces the luxury and supervision.
The pedestrian and vehicular movement is segregated and well defined in the site. There is a conflict only at the two entrances and the third entrance is dedicated only for pedestrians.
The site initially had six entrances opening onto the three roads bounding the site out of which only three are operational due to the security reasons.
Open Space System
The open spaces are derived from the configuration of horizontal and vertical base planes and the character is defined by sense of enclosure and texture.
There is hierarchy of open spaces due to the alteration in the planes in response to the climatic conditions and to achieve the desired visual character.
The extension of living area into the green space in the ground floor and the partially shaded 10sqm terraces spaces open onto visual greens and are not connected to active greens . Hence the privacy is retained. However there is lack of interaction.
The open staircases and their landing are interactive zones . The central spine is an active enclosed space which turns semi open space with presence of large green trees houses an OAT, children's play area, green pockets. The multi-functional hall acts as transition space from the central spine to the green scape on the South East. The soft scape on the South East is bounded and buffered by peripheral plantation.
Orientation and Micro Climate
The N-S orientation of the narrow built-up provides thermal comfort to the users in central community space and also provides winter sun to the individual terraces and central spine. The major openings of the units are oriented SE and NW. Hence, most of the DUs receive SE sun and the rest only NW sun with very few DUs getting both.
Majority of the private open spaces on the SE get optimum sun in the morning and afternoon during winters. While evening sun is absent in these areas during summers. In contrary the rest of the private spaces do not get afternoon winter sun.This shows marked difference in the usability of these two open spaces.
The vertical surfaces are not directly exposed to solar radiation and the DU's share walls with adjacent units hence the internal spaces are cooler than outdoor spaces.
The majority of the site surface hard surface which absorbs and reflects the solar radiation and radiates heat later. This is neutralized by the wind funnel created by the comparatively smaller openings on NW and large double height multi-functional hall on SE and the green pockets in the central spine.
The interlocking of the two longitudinal staggered decks provides mutual shading and provides thermal comfort to the users in central spine; it receives winter sun in the afternoon and is shaded in the evenings in summer. The micro climate encourages social interaction and activities in the central spine.
Building material and finishes
The unusually refined exposed brick and concrete construction reflects the architect's prevailing commitment to the modernist idiom. The concrete pergola accentuates the jagged break down of the building surfaces rather than forming an effective continuous parasol.
The development is a schematic of traditional urban form. This part-i derives specifically from the climatologically rationale of the narrow over hung streets in desert towns, such as Jaisalmer.
An introvert street configuration is created . This was devised, ostensibly, to shelter a humid green zone with in the development. It is terraced to fit topographic profile.
The position and character of various spaces make them multi-functional and the juxtaposition of these open spaces .give users the flexsibility of using the spaces as a whole if required.