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Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects combine communal living and privacy in sky villas

Each duplex apartment has its private entry on different levels, while the common central core promotes socialisation.

Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects combine communal living and privacy in sky villas

With the completion of Boat Club Apartments at Boat Club Road in Chennai, SJK Architects set a new precedent for multi-storeyed apartment living in the locality. The building, erected on a 10,000-square-feet trapezoidal corner plot, stands out amidst the many swanky, independent villas that occupy the affluent residential neighbourhood.

Despite space restrictions, the five-storey building with stilt parking at the lowermost level offers four duplex apartments on the floors above. Each range from 3,500 square feet to 4,500 square feet, arranged in an interlocked manner around a common central core. This approach positions two apartment units on each level, yet every duplex enjoys private entry on different floors, creating villas in the sky.

Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects

It’s clear that the architects took design cues from place and context, looking into local idiosyncrasies of geography, history and culture. For the Boat Club Apartments, climate was a particularly important factor. The client brief here, for example, noted that Chennai is “hot, dusty and mosquito-ridden.” The challenge for these luxury apartments, then, became one of connecting “people to nature, to themselves and to each other while blocking out heat, dust and malaria,” according to the architects.

With climate providing a number of challenges in India — not least periods of extreme heat and heavy rain — the architects turned to both modern and traditional methods. Drawing on the classic homes of Chennai, for instance, there is an emphasis on transitional spaces between inside and outside. A particularly notable example is the use of chajjas, a type of overhang or horizontal projection that provides respite from the heat and humidity. Passive design strategies focusing on ventilation and light have been central to the scheme throughout.

Tying the whole building together is a central atrium that maintains access to sunlight, which houses the elevator and staircases with deep slabs for landings at all levels. “Unlike most luxury apartment buildings in India today, where separate vertical cores are provided for supporting staff as the country still remains deeply divided on socio-economic lines, we’ve consciously chosen to allow all vertical movement to happen through a common central core to encourage a more inclusive way of living,” share the architects. The idea is that these partially communal circulation spaces will be pleasant to use and encourage some level of neighbourliness and interaction.

Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects

As for the layout of the core residential spaces, the architects faced a spatial challenge in the form of adhering to the traditional architectural guidelines of Vastu Shastra. Master bedrooms, for instance, are located on the south-west corner, further intensifying the need to think about ventilation and shade. Kitchens are positioned on the northwest and southeast across all units, and all other spaces swivel around it.

Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects

Stepping back towards those intermediary spaces between indoors and outdoors, however, the balcony design is what sets this project apart. While city regulations stipulate four-feet-deep balconies, SJK Architects has carved out an additional depth of the same distance, doubling the balcony size so that a shaded area can be enjoyed for a range of activities.

To keep dust and insects out from the apartments, the balcony windows comprise of openable teakwood shutters and fixed glazing, while other windows and doors are installed with pleated, side-slide mosquito meshes and most shutters.

apartment building in India by SJK Architects

Aesthetically speaking, the project is certainly striking in its materiality. The visitor is struck by the bold, single-material surfaces of concrete or stone. The façade of the building is a dry stone cladding of Sadarhalli grey granite, a finish that is also used throughout the design. This stone cladding also forms part of the approach to thermal comfort by insulating the building, creating a 40-millimetre air gap and a temperature drop of at least four degrees Celsius between outside and inside.

SJK Architects has deftly moved between the traditional and the modern to create a highly desirable slice of residential architecture in contemporary urban India.

Photography by Niveditaa Gupta
Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects
apartment building in India by SJK Architects
Boat Club Apartments in India by SJK Architects
Boat Club Apartments by SJK Architects


Boat Club Apartments

Location: Chennai, India

Architect, Interior Designer & Landscape Designer: SJKArchitects

Design Team: Shimul Javeri Kadri, Sarika Shetty, Bhavin Patel, Nikita Shahadadpuri, Riddhi Shah, Priyata Bosamia

Lead Architects: Shimul Javeri Kadri, Sarika Shetty

Initial Concept and Design Development: Bhavin Patel

Detailed Design Integration and Civil GFC Production: Nikita Shahadadpuri

Civil & Interiors Tender Quantities & Tender Drawings: Riddhi ShahInterior

Finishes and Facade Integration: Priyata Bosamia

Liasoning Architect & LocalArchitects: Eskay Design

Structural Design: Somadev Nagesh Structural Consulting Engineers / SNC

MEP, HVAC &FFE Design: Air Treatment Engineering Pvt. Ltd. / ATE

Lighting Design: Lighting Spaces

Civil Contractor: Harinarayana / Hari Narayanan Structurals Pvt. Ltd

Project Managers: TFE Corp

Carpentry Contractor (woodwork, including doors): Devendra Mistry

Facade Glazing(windows): National Glasstech

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