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Sometimes the best sense of well-being comes from being in tune with one’s environment in the sense that the environment is a carefully constructed mirror reflecting back views of our better personal qualities. When handled architecturally these expressions of our philosophy, values, and intentions can find their way into daily routines that then become a pattern for living, which constantly reinforces and reinvigorates. Such is the case in the recently completed Ramchandani house in Houston by Intexure Architects for a cardiovascular surgeon and his family. When the Mahesh and Devika Ramchandani decided to build a new house they also decided to take a serious and thoughtful look into how they wanted to live. That led to the remarkable realization that what they were about to build would in the end be an expression of themselves. This profound realization set in motion a process of self-examination that ultimately brought about a desire to integrate and reconcile competing aspects of the cultural heritage of their roots in India, their life in the modern garden city of Houston, as well as their personal values. These goals, they began to understand, could not be achieved simply through the adaptation of a “style.” Initially the Ramchandanis attended a series of real estate open houses but quickly concluded that the vast majority of upper-middle-class homes

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suffered the same stock commodification and image-driven foibles of suburban builder tract homes. It soon became clear that they would have to build to get what they wanted. Mahesh comments that “houses really are an expression of who you are and what you think is important, whether you realize it or not.” With this decision came the revelation that they needed the professional services of an architect. The family began attending local architectural home tours and in the fall of 2004 came across a residence designed by Intexure Architects in West University, a village city within Houston’s inner loop. Struck by the simplicity and openness of the design, the Ramchandanis decided they had found an architect who would understand their goals and provide a framework of refined simplicity . Aware of the clients’ desire to integrate aspects of their Indian cultural heritage into the house, Intexure began the design process by researching historical prototypes, including the traditional nine-square-courtyard house with a central space focused on shared family activities. That space quickly became the skeletal basis for the house. Providing a central shared space for family events and ceremonies, holiday gatherings, entertaining for family and friends, and hosting music recitals became one the major design objectives for the project—a house that would reflect the lives of its inhabitants, their traditions, passions, and sense of community.

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Texas Architect May/June 2008: Healing Environments  
Texas Architect May/June 2008: Healing Environments  

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