Balcony – just the word conjures up the image of a private space that is not quite within the apartment and not quite outside either. A space, that hangs in limbo and allows one the pleasure and the sense of rising above it all; just for a short precious spell of time to have your own perspective of the world. For the more prosaic, the balcony was very convenient space to do a number of things – talking to neighbours, calling out to the vegetable vendor on the street, having a small potted garden, drying ‘papads’ or spices, drying clothes….the list is endless and the functionality would depend on the balcony space.
Large or small, balconies have always been attractive and here we aren’t even referring to the architectural concept of the space. There is just some element of freedom and communing with the outside, while still being the relative safety of your own home which makes the balcony a favourite spot for almost every member of the family. Little kids could spend hours gazing from the balcony and discovering new things to see from their vantage point; adults unwind with a cup of their favourite brew; reading in a quiet corner of the balcony is every reader’s bliss; star gazing at night – a balcony offers it all becoming as the need arise a place for contemplation or peaceful conversation.
Architects have always understood the importance of the balcony, not only for residents but also for breaking the monotony of the façade of the building and giving it a unique character. Whether crafted in wrought iron or designed in concrete, balconies were a standard part of architecture in the urban world.
However, unfortunately today the once ubiquitous balcony has today become a rarity. Amendments in rules by the government have meant that developers find no incentives in providing balcony space anymore. For instance, earlier there was a proportion of area that was free of FSI for balconies which is no longer the case. Also, under the new RERA norms, while defining carpet area, the regulator has stated that ‘the balcony, veranda and the terrace, even if exclusive to the flat owner, can’t be included in the carpet area even as internal walls are included in the calculation.’ This rule came about in an era when developers were selling homes based on built up and super built up area, including the balconies in the cost of the homes. With the new norms in place and home buyers becoming more aware, developers cannot charge more for the balconies and so prefer doing away with them completely.
Rare is the new construction in this decade which will sport a balcony. This is what makes the projects which do have them a greater draw for buyers and end users. After all, when it comes to a lifestyle enhancement factor, the balcony tops the list of some of the most attractive features of a home.
– Article authored by Mr.Kaizad Hateria, Brand Custodian & Chief Customer Delight Officer, Rustomjee Group