When Santappa Kaliyan and his brother from Madipakkam came to MOAD, they wanted to demolish the old house on their father’s land and rebuild a new home. MOAD's architects decided to keep the demolition minimal and infuse the new with the old. “We reduced our footprint by bringing the new house close to the parent and keeping a large space for a garden,” says Mahesh Radhakrishnan of MOAD.

With a budget of Rs. 30 lakh, the architects added a two-bed, two-bath, 1,700 sq. ft extension to the existing home. “Except for the fact that the new addition is built on the existing north-south spine, the two dwellings are different from each other, just as the two generations in these buildings,” says Radhakrishnan. The old living room with its low ceiling opens up to the new hallway, which wears an airy look, thanks to the skylight above the cantilevered, folded sheet steel, minimalist staircase. The clear story windows placed strategically between the ground floor and the first floor light up the space and allow sunlight to pour in. The stairway leads to a view of the backyard from the terrace paved with china mosaic for insulation. The terrace was built in a way that allows mangoes from an adjacent tree to rest on the parapet during the summers.

The dining space overlooks a lotus pond and is covered on three sides by a jalli wall. “It was patterned with a mould of ferro-cement jalli,” says Radhakrishnan. It’s a great way to bring in sunlight and air while giving the family privacy from neighbours. Evenings in the dining room see orange sunlight filtering in through the jalli, creating a light and shadow play. “The contrast between old and new is apparent even the choice of material, textures, and play of natural light. The new extension rising above the existing parent’s house is hardly visible from the access street, yet it firmly positions itself as a contemporary insert in the streetscape,” says Radhakrishnan.