House Under Shadows by Zero Energy Design Lab

Online Exclusive Feature, Residential / 2021

House Under Shadows by Zero Energy Design Lab

July 29, 2021

This house looks like a mansion. So it is no surprise when the architects said the design was “inspired by the proximity and architectural elements of a palatial hotel in Karnal—Noor Mahal’s ‘chowk’ and ‘chhatris’, which are elements derived from the traditional Indian ‘havelis’.” Located in a barren land with no natural nor physical aspects to it, House Under Shadows is designed in a north-south orientation that minimises exposure to solar radiation and the extreme weather of North India.

The house got its name undoubtedly from the massive roof. An architectural highlight, the parametrically crafted double-roof structure covers the vast footprint of the house, and creates two individual units that allow for privacy while appearing together as a cohesive residence. The split massing also allows for a courtyard to be punctured in between with a pool that acts as a heat sink, with cantilevers on all sides to shade the walls. Of course, the greenery surrounding the house and on the external walls collectively help to create a cooler microclimate too. The wooden roof acts as the primary envelope of the house, while the pergola layer with a Voronoi pattern acts as sunlight diffuser that casts cooling shadows onto the living spaces underneath.

Energy saving

The patterned roof is made of fibre reinforced polymer that is fabricated through digital modelling. With at least 0.4 value of thermal transmittance, it can reduce solar glare and diffuse radiation significantly. According to the design team, the addition of the roof canopy has resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in direct and diffused radiation; and the annual cooling load went down from 76 to 53 kilowatt-hours per square metre, indicating a 20 per cent reduction. Meanwhile, the dynamic shadow patterns cast an ephemeral play of light and shade in the interior spaces—conjuring up different diurnal and seasonal ambience along with weather changes. The house’s walls are cladded with stone to increase thermal mass performance and create a distinctive finish. The ceiling is made of natural wood to impart a sense of warmth to the free-flowing open spaces and glazed interiors.

For more of the latest on Energy projects & topics, read the 2021 Energy issue


Project NameHouse Under Shadows
LocationKarnal, Haryana, India
Completion DateMarch 2021
Site Area1,506.5 square metres
Gross Floor Area1,672 square metres
Number of Rooms8
Building Height10 metres
Client/OwnerSahil Gandhi
Architecture FirmZero Energy Design Lab
Principal ArchitectSachin Rastogi
Main ContractorKuldeep
Mechanical & Electrical EngineerZero Energy Design Lab
Civil & Structural EngineerDesign Solutions
ImagesNoughts and Crosses (Andre J. Fanthome)

To read the complete article, get your hardcopy at our online shop/newsstands/major bookstores; subscribe to FuturArc or download the FuturArc App to read the issues.