Page 45

project client

Jain Residence, Southside Place

Aarthi & Anudeep Jain


Natalye Appel + Associates Architects

design team

Natalye Appel, FAIA; Lonnie Hoogeboom, AIA;

Shannon Sasser, AIA; Stuart Smith, Assoc. AIA contractor consultants

Southampton Group Matrix Structural Engineers (structural);

McKinnon Associates (landscape); rH Factor (landscape) photographer

Mark Green

Every new project affords the architect an opportunity and a challenge to develop a design concept that will take the built work beyond utilitarian shelter. For residential design this challenge can be even more difficult due to the extreme personal nature of the spaces to be created for the client, someone who has often spent a great deal of time considering what they expect from their new dwelling. For the Jain Residence, Natalye Appel + Associates Architects worked with the clients’ initial ideas for the project and expanded upon them to create an exceptionally well-articulated house. The clients practice the ancient Jain religion of India. That influence can be seen throughout the residence as forming the basic foundation for the functional, spatial, and spiritual aspects of the design. Jain beliefs incorporate the principles of vastu shastra for architecture and specifically the design of the home, which is called manushyalaya (“human temple” in Sanscrit). Similar to Chinese feng shui, vastu shastra doctrine attempts to harness the earth’s forces to achieve a built environment in harmony with the world around it, leading to a happier and healthier life for those living within. Initially, these principles guided the layout of spaces for the Jain Residence. The architect took care to preserve important adjacencies and alignments critical to achieving an advantageous flow of energies. Individual rooms were then crafted to their daily functional requirements while incorporating the various necessities of lifestyle and religious practice. In addition to these spiritual considerations, the clients desired a modern aesthetic and presented the architect with a collection of architectural design images they had been saving for years. The combination of all of these factors presented the architect with a challenging design task. The Vastu Purusha Mandala, a prescriptive diagram of preferred spatial arrangements, is an important guide to designing buildings in accordance with vastu shastra. In the Jain residence, the diagram was somewhat loosely followed due to the realities of designing a 6,700-square-foot house to be built on a relatively small lot. The mandala, however, is not intended to be an exact map of a design, but rather a flexible set of parameters. The architect’s interpretation of these parameters was therefore an important factor in the resulting arrangement of rooms. As one approaches the residence down a fairly typical street in Houston’s Southside Place community, past an abundance of “big box” spec homes, the restrained and balanced facade of the Jain Residence is a refreshing sight. The landscaping allows for an indirect approach to the entry vestibule, which is accessed by crossing over a shallow water-filled planter adjacent to the front door. The entry door opens to the east, which was critical for adhering to vastu shastra recommendations, and the threshold marked with water symbolizes the cleansing of the body prior to entrance into the private domain. Once inside, a dark ironwood antique Indian door at the far side of the entry foyer serves as a counterpoint to the subdued, contemporary material palette. This contrast between old and new appears consistently throughout the house, illustrating modern architecture’s ability to act as a neutral backdrop for a wide range of styles.

1 1 / 1 2

2 0 0 7

t e x a s

a r c h i t e c t


Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2007: Sacred Space  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...

Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2007: Sacred Space  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...