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•Yamuna apartments belong to a group housing society, which has been designed for the
lower middle income group.
•The site allotted for the housing complex was 4.25 acres , but due to planning regulations ,
an area measuring 0.5 acres was required to be left as open space, at the north east corner.
The intention of this open space being , to form a continuous green space with the adjoining
residential complex. The green space has enabled the housing to have a nice playground.
•The pedestrian movement is along four radial galis where children can play undisturbed by
the vehicular traffic . Plants planted along the side of the gali, present a refreshing contrast
to the external walls of the unit.
The design concept however, distinguishes it from other developments in the city.
This society consists of 200 members, most of which came from south indian states of
kerala , tamil nadu and andhra pradesh , constituted a fairly cohesive group with specific
living requirements. Taking these factors into consideration , the housing was designed as
an integral community settlement , where the traditional housing elements were
incorporated to create an “urban village “ in a city.
The design concept revolves around a typical indian village , with its lively narrow galis
or pedestrian streets , where the womenfolk and children would pull out their charpai
onto the gali , so that they were able to share experience and converstaion with each
other, while doing their household chores. This has been achieved by a designing a
traffic free complex , where the vehicular traffic is restricted to the periphery and in the
Galis converge onto an asymmetrically placed central square , which forms the focus. It is
here that the recreational activities have been placed.
The dwelling units comprise of three basic plan types of varying floor
area , which are grouped together in a repetitive basis, to form individual
The access staircase leading to the unit takes off from the gali, thus maintaining a continuity
and acting as transitional space , between common public areas and private areas of each
house. It has also enabled residents to converse with each other and maintain contact with the
surroundings while they work.
Unlike the west , the indian neighbourhoods are open and privacy is not given much
Houses were designed overlooking each others semi private areas. Thus , in addition to
sharing experiences while the womenfolk performed the daily chores , it also enabled
assistance in the time of an urgency .
In the unit plans , the semi private area or the living room of each unit has been consciously
designed towards the pedestrian spine to enable communal interaction and
acknowledgement of one’s neighbours.
The living room has an attached balcony which overlooks the pedestrian spine. This enables
the residents to share and exchange social contact at various levles, thereby retaining the
lively character of the gali.
The private area of the bedrooms are to the rear of the house opening on to a terrace for
According to the norms of the community , the kitchen is condsidered a holy place and is kept
clean, it is for this reason that is has to be kept away form all normal circulation routes within
The bathroom and kitchen open onto the internal ventilation and light shaft , on which they
are dependent for their light and ventilation.
grouped around the
central square. The
club is located on
the first floor level
forming a bridge
across two housing
A view of the units grouped around the
central space. The open air stage is in the
•There is an integration of traditional design elements as balconies
for shading the external wall surface , courtyards and terraces for
outdoor sleeping in summer , thus establishing a hierarchy of open
and enclosed spaces, private an semi private areas.
•The unit plan has opening on two sides , thus enabling a fair
amount of cross ventilation.
•Each unit is sheltered on the outside by either a balcony or terrace
The terrace provides a space for outdoor activities.
•Part of the terrace is always open to sky which gives it an added
openess . This has been achieved by changing the shape of the
terrace from square to rectangular on alternate floors.
The elected framework provides considerable variation to the
façade and a strong geometric framework.
• Yamuna apartments are unique in terms of the volumetric
form, owing to the constant staggering and the breaking up of
• Each made up of 3 types of dwelling units, which are placed
over each other in a way that the built mass is non- aligned.
• Such an arrangement provides optimal mutual shading, and
cuts off the harsh sun.
• The shape of the built form gives rise to the
• walkways between two blocks, which function
• as streets within the society.
• These `galis’ have been completely pedestrian
• ized and function beautifully as community
• They have been broken into levels, given green
• pockets, and are so well shaded that one can
• easily interact with people without worrying
• about hot summer.
• Instead of splitting two blocks apart,
• these parks bring the two together by
• encouraging people to interact and
• make it lively.
Community Spaces/ ‘Chowks’
• Since the entire society was designed like a typical village, chowks
form an integral part of this scheme.
• Each pedestrian walkway or `gali’ leads to one of these
asymmetrical cores or `chowks’.
• They provide an interesting focal point for daily activities to place
on a larger scale.
• One such core doubles up to form a badminton court and a mini
stage area for shows to take place, while another is merely a
courtyard which is shaded by trees and is broken into levels for
people to sit and interact.
• These spaces become pivotal in tying the blocks and paths
• There is one major playground tucked further away into the
• A small park is situated in one of the chowks which consists of
swings for children and benches to sit.
• Apart from dedicated greens, the pathways are interspersed
with green pockets, planters, trees, shrubs etc. the most
prominent trees are frangipans, deodar, mango etc. they
provide ample shading and improve the microclimate to a
• Car parking for the houses is limited to the periphery of the
housing and no car can come through to the internals of the
society. Vehicular movement for every other reason is
restricted to the perimeter as well.
Planning Of The Dwelling Units:
• Access staircase.
• Each block has a set of external staircases which is used to access the
apartments. The staircase splits into another staircase as it approaches the
doors of the apartment. This gives the appearance of almost a
personalized staircase for each house, something which is not commonly
found in group housing.
• Each block consists of 2 types of flats, 2 and 3 bedroom respectively.
Examples, flat type 1 has 3 bedrooms, whereas, flat type 2 has 2. there is a
service entrance from the kitchen, accessed by the same staircase which
leads to the guest entry.
• The design of every unit is such that the living room opens into a balcony,
which provides a direct visual connection with the house opposite to it.
• Bedrooms opens into a patio/balcony on the backside of the block, and
are adjoined by the balconies of the other houses. The patio is then half
covered by the patio of the floor above it, which gives it the staggered
• Service shafts:
2 apartment units share 1 common shaft, which is shared by the living
room, kitchen and the bathroom in one unit.
• The sense of community is highly emphasized throughout the society due
to the kind of spaces created, such as, the open and green spaces at various
intervals, placing of the blocks, and the usage of pedestrianization.
• The idea of parking being on the periphery, is very unique, as the whole
colony enjoys a terrific free circulation around the colony, however, the
demand for parking has increased since the society’s conception, creating a
shortage of car space.
• There is no apparent use of the basement, with just an occasional room for
various services etc, in a few places, accessed by ramps.
• The external staircase saves a lot of internal space as it cuts down the need
for a core, but, proves to be a problem on days with heavy rainfall. The fact
that residents can see into each others living rooms creates a sense of
safety in times of emergencies but it may seem intrusive for some, who
have simply used frosted glass/blinds to crub the issue.
• The placement and the size of the internal shaft by two units not only
holds the service lines, but helps in the overall ventilation of a unit. It can
be easily accessed from the terrace for maintenance. The way, the façade
is free of pipes running on it.
• The pebble-dashed facades are an interesting choice, because they are
require little or no maintenance. Extensive greens combined with such a
wall finish gives a natural and earthy feel to the complex. As a small
housing scheme, the complex is well planned and integrates the concepts
of community livings beautifully. Small spaces are used to the best of their
potential, creating an atmosphere of friendliness and familiarity.
The open air stage forms a
part of the recreational
facilities grouped around
the central square.
Units on the ground floor have a private
courtyard which is partly covered . It forms
an important space for outdoor activities ,
sitting out in summer evenings and on cold
wintry days, etc.
The change in the shape of the terrace , from square to rectangular , on
alternate floors provides considerable variation to the façade and strong
geometric frame work.
The external walls finished with stone aggregate which practically
requires no maintenance besides an occasional washing down with water
to remove the dust along with reinforced concrete bands at terrace
levels provide a refreshing contrast against the landscape.
A typical pedestrian
street or gali leading to
the central square with
entrance to the units .
Children can play in
the gali undisturbed by
The access staircase in
each block form
elements . They wind
around a central wall
panel , but at each half
peels off to lead
directly to the
entrance of the
Each unit has a courtyard or
terrace for outdoor activities ,
outdoor sleeping, drying
balcony for laundry, etc, which
is partly open to sky.
Community spaces like O.A.T, public seating, gardens etc. are provided.
Water tank orientation with good use of levels.
Neighborhood is maintained.
Better use of site’s irregular negative space by providing children’s play area and gardens
Landscaping is used as a very important key feature in complete design.
Privacy is maintained by providing a small breathing space in every apartment i.e. in
ground floor it is next to main door and in upper floors it is as balconies.
Two main, three sub and one service Entries are provided for the better use of spaces.
Non- accessible Terrace gardens are provided to enclosure to the outer space and at the
same time they also gives the view of the open sky which merges with the landscaping on
the upper terrace gardens.
Security pipelines are exposed and are running along the window.
Basement is not used for any purpose.
Parking was not made according to the requirement, cars were parked on the roadside.
35 percent of the total area is the built up area.
There are large open spaces for public use provided on the
periphery of the complex.
The built up area is in staggered form and oriented in such a
way that they form a sense of enclosure within the complex.
Bey balconies have been provided with the built units that add
to the aesthetics and functionality to the built form.
65 percent is open space.
The designer has tried to
make the open spaces face
towards the southern side
to avoid direct light
entering the area.
The complex gives a sense of
There are many buffer zones
within the complex which form
the space of gathering , social