Get transported to the city outskirts.
PICS: BIKRAM RAI
When you think of Darbar Marg, you picture crowded streets, busy traffic and fancy establishments. So, when you walk into couple Suman and Riva Thapa’s home located on the lane leading towards Hotel Yak and Yeti
, you feel like you have been transported to the city outskirts. The duo have not only managed to create an oasis amidst all the chaos, but paid close attention to do so in an environment friendly way.
The building where the house is located was designed by architect Prabal Thapa (pic, above) who worked alongside Austrian architect Götz Hagmüller on renovating Garden of Dreams in Thamel. The building has six floors, four of which have been sublet for commercial use. The City Museum occupies two of the floors. The Thapas reside on the fifth and sixth floor.
From the beginning Suman and Riva knew what they wanted and architect Thapa was given three simple pointers: the building should have natural light, good ventilation and lots of greenery. Prabal has delivered on all three.
In order to minimise energy use, Thapa installed double glazed panes on all floors. “During summer, these windows prevent the heat from entering and during winter keeps the cold out,” explains Prabal. Panel devices outside the windows also help reduce radiation.
The rooms are spacious, airy and bright. The strongest cross-ventilation keeps things breezy and obviates the need for air-conditioning. The four bottom floors, each occupying 5000 sq feet are all divided into two units, making the stair cases wider. “Space was created to make movement easier,” says Prabal.
Prabal Thapa incorporated the pillars as part of the design. In many places, the cemented walls and ceilings have been left raw and bare, allowing the tenants to decorate it as per their preference.
Within their own home, the couple went traditional in their choice of interior. Hanging old paintings on the walls, use of jute mats, display of Nepali artifacts and mud utensils all add to the cosy elegance of the house and lends it a Nepali touch which contrasts perfectly with the building’s modern outlook.
Greenery is a big part of this building and the Thapas worked to ensure that there was plenty of it both indoors and outdoors. A terrace garden greets you right as you enter the residence on the fifth floor, which has everything from apricot to pomelo, jasmine to bay leaves.
“When people ask where greenery in Darbar Marg is, I want them to point towards our house,” says Riva. “We wanted people to feel like they were walking in a garden when they entered our building.”
Hanging gardens of Kathmandu, Santa Gaha Magar
A day at the museum, Tsering Dolker Gurung