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May 18, 2024

This Laurie Baker-designed home gets a facelift as a garden cafe in Kerala

Bharath Ramamrutham

Home to Cafe

Baker’s Arch, which sits on three levels, embodies Laurie Baker’s philosophy of working with, rather than against, the land. The dramatic entrance on the highest level guides you along a cobblestone pathway to an exposed feature wall and an arch, leading down to the second level. Here, the cafe building begins around a gracefully ageing fountain. “The arch, feature wall, and fountain are my additions to the original structure when it was my office,” Vinod shares. The backyard is now a garden cafe and coffee bar for those seeking to enjoy the outdoors. Inside, the rooms are thoughtfully repurposed into a co-working space, lounge, and common and private dining areas, catering to the varied needs of different guests. The basement is converted into the main kitchen.

Also read: Jaipur’s newest haunt, Polo Palladio witnesses a radical departure from the ‘country club aesthetic’

As Vinod recounts, “We have made only minimal interventions to the main building, removing some walls to accommodate washrooms and extending the kitchen in the basement, which is essential for the café.” This sensitivity is apparent in the Lotus Hall, which retains its original design, featuring a distinctive lotus-like frame of three of Baker’s grand brick arches, now serving as the primary dining area. Beyond fixing leaks and other minor issues, the roof, floor, and windows are conserved in their original form.

Image may contain Garden Nature Outdoors Pond Water Plant Vegetation Land Rainforest Tree and Architecture

Bharath Ramamrutham

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