A verdant harbour
MKDC gives Indore’s erstwhile boat club a swanky extension
Amidst the ample greenery of Indore, stands a pleasing brick-and-stone edifice designed by Manish Kumat Design Cell (MKDC). The structure in question forms an extension to the old block of the Indore Residency Club (IRC), formerly called the Indore Boat Club. Established in 1896, the club boasts a long and intriguing history, having played home to both British Royalty and well-heeled Indians, who used the club as a place of leisure and recreation at the time. The new building was planned keeping functionality in mind in order to meet modern needs, but the design evolved in accordance with the present circumstance.
With a site area of more than two acres in the heart of the city, the club is a perfect blend of heritage and modernism, and also one of the very few clubs to have maintained a perfect equilibrium between brick and nature. In addition, the new building was to be situated in an area that already housed other buildings from a bygone era – something that adds to the charm of the place. As a natural result of this context, an approach of minimal invasion was followed to respect the existing site. For starters, the site included 10-12 mature trees, which were relocated within the residency club campus itself with the help of expert guidance.
“The planning of the club stays true to the essence of environmental sustenance,” states Manish Kumat of MKDC. The forms are closely placed, and the building-height to street-width ratio is kept minimal, to maximise mutual shading. Spatially, the courtyard has been centrally planned, to keep the building naturally ventilated. It also uses 85% of daylight, drastically reducing the need for artificial lights. The large, centrally-placed courtyard also fosters visual connectivity among different spaces in the building. Further, the use of jharokha-shaped niches on exposed brick, along with pebbled flooring, add a traditional touch to the courtyard’s design. A conscious decision was taken to not dismantle the load-bearing structure belonging to the British Era, but to instead sensitively renovate it. The exterior of the new block was hence designed with a truss structure at the entrance, finished with Mangalore tiles, to complement the old block, and keep the feel of the heritage building intact. In fact, even the tiles were matched with the existing, adjacent building in order to maintain continuity, while also exuding a sense of grandeur.
The building is divided into two floors and a terrace. The ground floor comprises a grand double-height entrance with a reception, an open-to-sky court, a restaurant, open dining, and a bar. On the other hand, the first floor consists of a small reading lounge, a banquet for meetings, lunch and dinner, with a yoga and dance hall. A roof-top dining area is accommodated on the terrace.
Moving inside, the interiors radiate warmth and richness through the use of door handles designed in different postures of the surya namaskar, the brass inlay on the walls, and the wood carving on the furniture. Kota stone flooring has been continued in the new building, but with a variation in size and textures. “These elements are symbolic of opulence and exquisite craftsmanship. The brass inlay on the walls and wood carving on the furniture expand the idiom of minimalism to different craft forms. The inlay on the wall adjacent to the staircase at the reception replicates the symbolic, structural form of Rajwada, a historical palace in Indore, and was done in beaten copper inlaid in siporex,” explains Kumat.
Interestingly, the traditional touch that is reflected in the various interior elements is subtly complemented by the walls in stark white, which reflect a modern, clean ambience, quite typical of a club. Overall, the design of the club comes together in a seamless whole, epitomising a harmonious blend of the past and the present, as the space retains that distinctive, old-world charm even in the fresh, contemporary extension.
Name of the project: Indore Residency Club
The designers: Manish Kumat Design Cell
Area: 15,000 sq-ft (approx.)
Duration of project: 11 months
Date of completion: 2019
Materials & Suppliers
Flooring: Kota stone & wooden floor
Laminates: CenturyPly & Greenply
Stone: Kota stone
Lighting/ light fixtures: Philips & Purple Turtles
Paint: Asian Paints
Furniture: Handmade at site
Sanitary fittings: Jaquar
Air-conditioning/ HVAC system: O General VRV System