Exemplifying sustainable living on a minimal footprint, Court Fort by Compartment S4 is designed as a living-working space for an urban farmer in India.
It’s a context sensitive project which aims to forge strong connections between the built form and its farm-like surroundings. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Court Fort takes its name from its C-shaped frame which organises the floor plan around a private courtyard.
The purpose of the building is to host seasonal workshops, film screenings, lectures, and seminars concerning the benefits of farming in urban spaces. By dividing the area into four zones, multidisciplinary practice Compartment S4 has delivered a flexible habitat which inconspicuously reveals itself from within its verdant environment.
“While weaving in the programmatic requirements of a home-like workspace, the built fabric consciously reduces footprint and uses orientation and axis to its climatic advantage,” explain the team behind Compartment S4.
A framework of load-bearing bricks walls is topped with a reinforced cement concrete pitched roof, which overhangs and shields the building from intense sunlight and heat.
Of the four zones, the farming space is largest in size as it occupies over 60% of the plot in the east. The second zone is a natural pond in the centre, which is held together by wild greens and complemented by the waterbody attached to the built volume in the east.
The third zone is a dense forest plantation, which works together with the natural pond to create a valuable ecosystem that invites varied species of animals and birds to the area. Considered as the fourth zone, the red brick-built home-working space is designed to be non-invasive and to coexist with its surroundings.
Passive cooling was a key consideration in the building design, taking the hot and humid Indian climate into account. The layout is created around the courtyard which forms a visual axis with the entrance in the north, dividing the main living-working space into a formal work-dining area in the west and a sitting lounge-meeting zone in the east.
These functional spaces, the design team at Compartment S4 explain, are “supplemented by a small kitchenette, washroom, and a common toilet, accessible from the courtyard for ease of use by the family and visitors.”
“The home in this home-like workspace comes to life in the bedroom. As a relatively private space, it is accessed from the living space and the courtyard and primarily overlooks the Champa tree in the courtyard.”
Continuing the visual sense of bringing a sense of the outdoors in, the internal walls are finished with lime, keeping the structure and the infill distinctly different. The choice of the red bricks and grey recycled bricks grants the space its primary material character, with complementing wooden furniture and polished concrete flooring edged style with black kadappa stone inlay.
Project name: Court Fort
Location: Nandoli, Ahmedabad, India
Architects: Compartment S4
Gross built area: 125 m2
Building function: Workspace/weekend home
Photography: Dhrupad Shukla
Plans and drawings: Courtesy of Compartment S4
Learn more about the works of collaborative and context-sensitive design practice Compartment S4.