Residential architecture in South India – 5 best contemporary houses


Simple living and high thinking is a mantra Indians live by. This reflects in their personality, their dressing sense and their choices. It is obvious then, that this mantra is also the inspiration for their spaces. Contemporary architecture in India is a fusion of functional and modern spaces, designed in a minimalistic and simple style. Natural or vernacular materials are deployed to build residences which become a cozy haven for the families. Let’s study the contemporary residential architecture in South India for pointers on minimalist modern design.

1. The Brick House by Srijit Srinivas Architects

Using one of the oldest and most versatile building materials, the country burnt brick, this residence in Trivandrum evokes a feeling of nostalgia and old world charm. Designed for a doctor duo and their kids, this residence has the perfect blend of formal and informal spaces, interwoven around an open planned living space. The brick wraps the house romantically interspersed with bare cement walls and ceilings giving it both, strength and character. The design has also attempted to bring nature inside, with the use of contextually detailed skylights and jali work facilitating natural cooling of the interiors and creating soft views to the pond and garden.

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2. Traditional Affinity House by Thought Parallels

In an attempt to embrace their Indian ethos and familiarize their children with the same, Dubai couple got a contemporary residence designed in Kozhikode city. The sprawling residence is designed to suit the client’s personality, minimalistic, modern yet very Indian. The climate of Kerala and it’s old architecture style is also respected in the design, which one can see from the general planning, use of colors and material palette. The concept of wooden architecture, courtyard planning and sloping roofs which wholly resounds with typical Kerala Architecture, is seen here albeit with a contemporary twist.

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3. The Deck House by Architecture Paradigm

Located in Tirupati, this residential design champions the outdoor which wraps around the house. Two individual blocks connected by a large dining space divide the public and private rooms yet makes the house a cohesive entity. The beautiful landscape with water bodies, lawns and walkways can be enjoyed through the spill over decks in living and private spaces. A spiral staircase in the front of the house before the main door states the ambiguity and premise of the house.

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4. The Skew House by Thought Parallels

This Malapuram residence, in South India, is hidden behind a thick foliage of rubber plantation. Taking a cue from its surroundings, the house is a blend of tropical design with traditional architecture. A semi private living space, connects a guest and private block which is surrounded by a minimalistic landscape garden. The presence of the prayer room prompted the architect to align the block along the traditional direction of pray, thus creating a tilt and breaking the initial parallel axis between the two blocks, hence deriving the name “THE SKEW HOUSE”.

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5. Brick House by Collective Project

Another project in the suburbs of Bangalore with hand moulded table bricks is the ‘Brick House’. An extension to a family house of 5, this residence in a crowded unplanned community, stands out owing to its personal narrative of open and interconnected spaces with contemporary geometries yet traditional building methods. Porous jalis bring diffused natural light with interesting shadows inside the space, keeping the interiors cool and dynamic. The interiors are earthy and minimalistic with grey, white and wood undertones. The house further opens out to the landscape with strategically planned fenestration, and the soft greens outside complement the stark white interiors.

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Contemporary architecture in South India strives to create harmony between the outdoors and indoors. The use of neutral colors and infusing greens, natural materials like wood, bricks, adobe and passive heating or cooling techniques are centric to this architecture typology. Open planning, simple yet timeless design and subtle styling are also regularly seen. A few titbits of ancient Indian architecture, like carved columns in the courtyard, a four poster bed, diwans or front porches are elements which further enhance this style. 

Hope the five curated examples above gave you some insight in contemporary residential architecture in South India. Please keep coming back for more such features and design blogs!


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