Located in Calvetti, south of the Calvetti Juma Masjid and north of the Boat Jetty, Pepper House was originally a warehouse for spices, that has now been converted into a cultural center and coffee shop. This two-storied building constructed out of wood, laterite, and lime is a typical example of the design and architecture of traditional warehouses in Kochi. The structure depicts the system of functioning of a traditional warehouse. The warehouse stretches with the Vembanad Lake on the eastern side and the road to the market on the western side. Pepper house has a rectangular open-space or a courtyard in the middle which is surrounded by structures.
A tall and wide wooden door on the eastern side of the structure opens to the Vembanad lake, where the Periyar river meets the Arabian Sea. When Pepper House fulfilled the role of a warehouse, boats carrying raw yields of spices from different parts of Kerala sailed through the Periyar, and parked near the warehouse, after which the goods from these boats were unloaded into the warehouse. The goods were then taken into big halls in the building, where they were sorted and processed. On being processed, the goods were kept in the courtyard to dry, after which the goods were stored in sacks as finished products, ready to be traded. The wooden door on the western side of the structure opens to the road which leads to Kochi Spice-Market .
Ever since the 14th century, when the progress of trade relations led to the evolution of Kochi as a major port, warehouses and godowns like Pepper House mushroomed at Calvetti, remnants of which are still noticeably around in Calvetti. It was the shift in the market that led to Calvetti losing its prominence, due to which most of the warehouses and godowns around Calvetti fell into disuse.
Today, Pepper House is a privately owned cultural centre cum coffee shop, and is used as one of the main venues of Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Kochi Biennale Foundation, the organisers of the Biennale use this space for international art-residency projects as well. It houses a contemporary visual art reference library, which is free and open to all.