Mylaporea��s 200-year-old Luz House is getting a lick of paint and a new lease of life as a yoga centre and boutique hotel
Hidden behind a garage and a petrol bunk on Luz Church Road in Mylapore, this is a building that harks back to Chennaia��s Dutch Colonial past. The white villa, with its colonnaded verandah and high ceilings, is straight out of the history books and, until now, stood forgotten. a�?Luz House was a part of the grounds purchased by my ancestors in Mylapore in the 1770s. It was not so much a house as part of the barracks for the Portuguese armed forces. In the 1850s, my grandfather renovated it to create a womena��s zanana,a�? says Buchi Prakash, the son of renowned cricketer Buchi Babu, as he talks about his plans to open a yoga centre (to start on March 15) and a boutique hotel in his ancestral home.
Designed for yoga
Over the centuries, the Luz House (Luz means light in Spanish) has seen a lota��generations of the family walking its oxide floors, playing tennis on its courts, and feeding horses in its stables. It has also withstood a lota��from storms and wars to demolition and restoration. Then it fell into disuse. Now, after years of mortar crumbling in silence, the house is getting a makeover. a�?We wanted to restore it to its former glory and utilise the space for something that blends harmoniously with its history,a�? says Prakasha��s son, Abhimanyu Prakashrao. a�?When my wife Ishani and I heard that 136.1 Yoga was looking for a space to expand its business, we approached them. And it just clicked,a�? he shares.
Currently work is underway for the yoga centre. Yashwant Saran, the managing director of 136.1 Yoga Studio, is excited about the project. a�?Imagine the ancient 5,000-year-old tradition of yoga being practised, with a modern approach to service, in an ancient house thata��s over 200 years old. We are plain lucky to have this space,a�? he says.
The restoration work is being overseen by renowned city-based conservation architect, K Kalpana. a�?The house is a beautiful example of our Dutch East India past. However, new structures were added to it and I didna��t want to do a reversal because it could damage its core. Instead, I am working on highlighting its old-world charma��like the Madras terrace roof with teak wood supports, the large halls with its thick mud-mortar walls, and its tall windows and doors,a�? she says. Later additions to the house were its red oxide floors, a staple of the 1920s, the salon doors partitioning the long hallway and the porch that juts out into the garden.a�?In its day, Luz House had a lot of large open spaces with archways connecting them, which were subsequently closed off. We are planning to reopen them,a�? adds Prakashrao.
After the yoga centre opens its doors, phase two will kick offa��to renovate the back of the house into a boutique hotel. a�?Ia��ve suggested that they build an extra floora��keeping the same pantile roofa��and create 10 rooms. Once that is done, wea��ll figure out what kind of feel to give the interiors: Dutch, French or Indian,a�? says Kalpana, while Prakashrao assures us, a�?All the furniture sourced for the hotel will reflect the character and age of the building.a�? Also on the blueprint: an organic counter, a cafe, a library and a small museum dedicated to Buchi Babu and his familya��s achievement in sports over the years (Prakash and Prakashrao are both polo enthusiasts). Details: 9840775062
– Surya Praphulla Kumar