Affordable housing is the buzzword today. With the urban population growth at the current rate; almost 60% of India would be living in urban agglomerations in the next two decades. However, affordable remains an oft-used, yet still not understood concept for most.
At Design Forum International (DFI), we try to look beyond the word, further than the explicit and attempt to delve into what is really required, as an architectural intervention to solve the affordability problem. In our experience, we have realized that simple design interventions are the fundamental principles of the process; it is the thought process and the underlying sense of a purpose that result in making a “cost effective” building; a high on value design which renders itself useful to dealing with urban housing that falls under the “affordable” segment.
Summer Palm, developed by Umang Realtech is one of DFI’s first successful delivered projects in the “cost effective” segment, important as much for its handed over cost as for its “theory put into practice” with a success message. The project is located within Sector 86, Faridabad, Haryana. Spread across a 13.29-acre site and housing approximately 900 apartments, the development is designed with a built-up area of slightly more than a million square feet.
Early in the quest for effectiveness, DFI settled on the 8 to a core plan for dwelling units in the affordable segment; it is fat plus shaped arrangement which has two units in each of its wings. A pair of lifts and a pair of staircases services the eight units. As a result of the compactness of the cluster plan, the area required under circulation is substantially lower than say a linear corridor plan, with the added advantage of all units getting ventilation, light and most importantly visual privacy from another unit. The Summer Palm site offered a very clean rectangular outline and the maximum was optimized to craft a beautiful geometry by laying out the towers in a linear fashion. The plus-shaped towers allow for joining two or more together and shaping a geometric site arrangement. Therefore, the plan shapes itself as a peripherally aligned site plan with open spaces getting consolidated in the center. The pockets of land projecting out of the main rectangle are used to house the amenities of the project.
Summer Palms is a beautiful product which has over nine hundred satisfied users and a smiling developer. The project is finished at an average cost of Rs.1050 per square foot, lower by a staggering 15-25% compared to similar developments delivered during that period (2012-2013). Summer Palm doesn’t compromise on any of the basic necessities; in fact, it has a very thoughtful and efficient landscape design, with a blend of play and leisure areas, a fully functional and aesthetic club and sports facilities.