Restello by Piercy Conner Architects

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A residential block clad in perforated steel shutters by UK architects Piercy Conner Architects is about to begin construction in Kolkata, India.

The shutters will fold back to reveal double-height terraces between the facade and a second glazed skin.

Called Restello, the project will provide twelve apartments.

See also:

Golf’s Tower by Hackenbrioch Architekten (October 2009)
Altis Belém Hotel by Risc (March 2010)

The information below is from Piercy Conner:


Living Steel ʻRestelloʼ goes to market

ʻRestelloʼ the radical steel apartment project designed by UK architects Piercy Conner and winner of the Living Steel International Architecture Competition in 2006, is ready to go to market in Kolkata, India. The scheme won not only because of its bold, elegant design, but also because of the strong concept of cross-ventilation and solar-shading that use steelʼs properties to make an environmentally sound, high- performance building. Built with renowned developer Bengal Shrachi, Restello will be Indiaʼs most modern steel residential project, and it looks set to sell exceptionally well.

The apartments bring a new standard in residential construction to this fast-developing area of Rajarhat, New Town, Kolkata. Aimed at the flourishing high-income group (HIG), the twelve luxurious boutique apartments combine the best in architectural thinking and practice. Restello combines elements of traditional Eastern architecture with innovative sustainable practices to create a truly modern living experience. The steel structure allows for a balance of flowing open living spaces and private rooms, while its perforated steel façade filters sunlight and provides natural ventilation.

The ʻskinʼ of the building comprises one permeable outer layer of perforated steel screens, and a second inner skin of floor to ceiling glazing. Between the two layers lies the enviable, unique feature of double storey terraces at the front of the apartments, providing a harmonious flow between the outside world and the internal home. Taking the design cue from traditional permeable architecture of Kolkata, the outer screens act to shade sun and rain, while maximising natural light and maintaining external views. The effect in the six three-bedroom and six four-bedroom duplex apartments is of dappled patterns of light and shade that create an airy effect, belying the strength of the steel.

Working closely with a team of world-class experts, the Restello project will embody the highest standards in steel design and construction. Internationally renowned engineers Price & Myers bring an exceptional level of consulting to the Restello project, ensuring Piercy Connerʼs design. The steel structure is of a high grade and manufactured to international standards with Tata Bluescope Steel and Tata Steel. Galvanised and painted steels are used for corrosion protection and to ensure a long life for the apartments.

The use of steel in Restelloʼs construction also fits well with the demands of the local climate. Dampness is a major hazard for people living in Kolkata due to the high levels of moisture content in the atmosphere. This means houses can look ugly, shabby and ill-maintained prematurely. Steelʼs resistance to dampness and soiling is advantageous as it does not shrink or swell from time or humidity, which contributes to an improved dry wall and exterior appearance, as well as improving the quality of the fit of doors and windows. In this way, by providing an aesthetically perfect exterior and interior, the steel homes at Restello save time, energy and money when it comes to maintenance. Scott Chubbs, Living Steel Programme Director said: “Demand for new housing at this luxury level in India is high, and New Town is growing very quickly. We are excited to see our competition-winning design help meet this need in such an innovative and beautiful way. Steel is a very versatile material for residential construction industry and the Restello project is a prime example of a quality home for the higher income groups in India. We have an outstanding team working on this project and it is through this collaboration with developer Bengal Shrachi, architects Piercy Conner, Tata BlueScope Steel and Tata Steel that we are able to bring this beautiful, ground- breaking building to life.”

Stuart Piercy, Director of Piercy Conner Architects commented on the importance of cultural acknowledgement throughout the design process: “India is on the verge of a building explosion but we wanted to avoid the anonymity of Dubai-style development. Instead we wanted to offer a culturally sympathetic yet environmentally intelligent building which retained an Indian identity and created a role-model for sustainable living.”

Restello is already selling off-plan, and marketing of the project locally is now underway.

  • gab xiao

    looks beautiful indeed! it would be cool that India will finally start brushing-up its culture with good architecture.

    Nothing notable has been built in India since Corbusier and Khan’s eras…

  • bebo

    i love how they modernized the tradiotional paterns already used in indian architecture, and white can realy purify the design.

  • horrible haridas

    @gab xiao: i take that ‘nothing notable’ means nothing covered by the western press and media :) oh i also assume ‘notable’ means anything carefully inscribed into devoted-ly purchased moleskines!

    come spend some time in india, away from the tours/guidebooks and guest houses dressed up for backpacking leica yielding foreigners. i’m an indian, and i’m only just beginning to see the world we are within; and its wonderful.

  • boni

    this is a beautiful project…

    …but @gab xiao – it’s pretty presumptious of you to say that “nothing notable bas been built..” when you’ve clearly spent little time looking into indian architecture. Everyone knows about the Corbu and Kahn projects, dig a little deeper.

  • gab xiao

    I truly believe you – horrible harridas! Wish I had some time to come visit India. might be just recent lectures of mine that made spill some vituperance (Pascal Bruckner’s novel Paria)…

    However, there is a disproportionately too little effort in keeping up with modern architecture (and modernity in general) from a country with such a big economy and wealth. as with the Jaguar (the car) – why buying brands instead of inventing and propelling new ones, rather?…

    Upon my knowledge Piercy Conner’s scheme breaches a fresh air into a seemingly forlorn (and less known) architectural culture. I’m quite excited to see some follow-ups on Dezeen!

  • http://urbesaereperennius.wordpress.com/ Bill

    I think its fantastic

  • http://urbesaereperennius.wordpress.com/ Bill

    I wonder if it’s kind of project that is more affordable to build in India than say in America….all that custom screening must be expensive? I love the little porch space. But I’m also curious about the space between the two towers there…not sure what to call it. Do you have views into your neighbors place or not?

  • t

    that porch space is incredible!

  • Raph

    Beautiful. I love it’s iridescence. And it’s a very modern way of thinking about very old concepts of environmental control.

    To respond to bill, I think it’s a project that would be highly improbable in the US. It shouldn’t be that expensive because the money saved on windows would be used for the metal screens with a few repeating patterns, which could be efficiently fabricated. Would our building codes even allow it?

  • rm

    gab xiao: justa few references for you to brush up on Indian architecture post corbusier & Kahn
    a few amongst the older generation are:
    BV Doshi
    Charles Correa
    Raj Rewal
    and just a few amongst the younger group (and theres a whole of them)
    Bijoy Jain (Mumbai Studio)
    Kapil Gupta (Serie Architects)
    Mathew & Ghosh
    Sameep Padora
    Kiran Venkatesh

  • seewoosagur ramgoolam

    gab- you are hilarious. Mr. ‘Know it all ‘ !!!

    Does modernity have a singular aesthetic agenda?
    Do you consider only ‘certain’ looks and techniques to be modern?

    Modernity is an attitude my friend. In India, modernity is our ability to allow for multiple aesthetic cultures and techniques to emerge and exist side by side, not just the ones that emerged from the West and transplanted all over the world.

    What is happening in Dubai and China, is far from modern and progressive, if we were to actually examine these terms deeply.

    This delicate building in Kolkata is going to be a one off piece. For a select few. It is hardly going to set off some new ‘modern’ design revolution as you had hoped. We already have a far more innovative, diverse and intelligent revolution underway. Come, visit and you will see.

  • theabonimablist

    nice renders.. anyone know if they are done in-house?

  • flytoget

    Now. This is LOVELY!

  • http://deleted amsam

    mmmm, gauzy.

    This perforated exterior thing we’ve been seeing is gorgeous.

  • http://palavras-arquitectura.com João Pereira de Sousa

    Perfurated shutters are always an interesting addition to a housing building. We’ve seen it being applied all over the world and by a number of different architects. It is undoubtely a great way to make a building photogenic and interesting visually.

    Although from a perspective of the users, the actual people that live inside the houses, behind those perfurated shutters, I don’t know almost anyone that really enjoys being enclosed by a set of perforated steel shutters that not only shades the interior of the house (which can be good) but gives a feel of being almost like in a prison. Because if you don’t spend the effort of opening it each morning you’ll see the world through the holes of a steel barrier.

    I guess there is still a lot of study and work to be done on this subject.

  • Rac

    @ gab xiao: modern cars, maybe true.. but ‘disproportionately too little effort in keeping up with modern architecture’ – thats far from truth.. How do you see proportion? India is unique in it immense diversity and socio-economic classes.. It is a growing economy and hence has to tackle serious issues of providing basic housing to its billion+ population.. n yet, u hear names of Charles Correa, B.V. Doshi, Sanjay Mohe.. and more recently Kiren Venkatesh, Kapil Gupta, Mathew and Ghosh…
    And again, the design by Piercy Conner is good break from glass clad clones of NYC and Dubai, however, what about the massing which acts well in shading n aesthetics, the first render is not how indian light/sky is.. it looks more western in its serene white ambience.. in reality the white wud be sepia/brown in no time.. the metail might just get too heated up by heat absorption.. An indian modern architect cud have done sim or better justice to the design..
    Having said that, I sill appreciate the effort and design by a western firm in a new cultural context.. wud look forward to c it…

  • http://www.deconlighting.com Livi

    I live in India and my job requires a lot of interaction with architects.
    The project shown may look good but for the people who will live in it will require to cope with:
    1. Bird perches all around. The early morning and late evening `coming home songs’, which may be nice for some but actually very disturbing.
    2. The location is damp and with frequent rains and monsoons. All metal will require a lot of maintenence. All exposed metal with give streaks of rust.
    The designers tend to make monuments. Perhaps thinking from within will allow more practical structures.
    Finally the comment regarding the absence of good works in India. We will need to ignore that.

  • Cicero

    Is this sustainable?
    Steel exposed to heat, moisture, expensive to manufacture and maintain in India.
    What about fire protection?
    Concept already seen-used so many times.
    Good luck!

  • http://www.tumijegede.com Tjay

    I am not from India, but I do know how ‘western’ culture tends to decide when something is modern and ‘new’.

    I agree completely with Livi and Seewoosagur.

    I am very concerned with maintenance of these white painted steel delicate lace screens..

  • mike

    i think its nice,looks clean,different,…looks like it could be a new streem to follow…

  • Santosh

    Absolutely impractical design. Does the architect with his detailed “study” and research understand the practical issues with design in India? With the “custom” screens, what about the dust blown in with the wind? What about rain and what about the heat of the sun and glare?

    It is so predictable that a western architect’s design in India lands up being “progressive and modern” while local designs and ethnic building forms are regressive. Exchange buildings between Dubai and Shanghai and will you make out a difference? They are either copy paste designs or some western architect’s “study” which at best can be only a fantasy! And yes, Correa’s designs are Modern. Look at Kanchengunga, a highrise in Mumbai: it is local and it is modern!