Liquid Stone House (2013) by SPASM Design located in Khopoli, Maharashtra, India | The Hardt
Liquid Stone House (2013) by SPASM Design located in Khopoli, Maharashtra, India. The 6,900 ft² (641 m²) home is an area of high precipitation in the monsoons. A second home on a rocky outcrop at the start of the western ghats (highlands), Khopoli, in Maharashtra, India. An area of high precipitation in the monsoons, and equal heat during the summers, the site changes remarkably from March to July, with the onset of the southwesterly monsoons. Basalt the local black rock of the region is what this site was about. We chose to build the house as an accretion on this rocky basalt outcrop with the same inherent material transformed. An outgrowth which was made of a mix of water, sand, cement and the granular basalt. Concrete finely honed to serve as a refuge, to face the climatic changes that the site offered. The house was conceived as a cast for human occupation, a refuge which trapped the views, the sun, the rain, the air, and became one with the cliff edge it stood on. Akin to the growth of a coral, the substance of the walls and roof dictate the experience of inhabiting the site.
Stone has been used in many forms, based on use, wear, grip, texture. The dark saturated black matt-ness conjures a cool sense of refuge and calm. Photographs cannot express the sense of weight when one approaches, or the sense of release at the edge of the pool at the far end of the open terrace, the feeling of burrowing deeper enroute, past the stacked stones, to the lower bedroom. The house, a cast, an object for living, whatever you may call it, has transformed into a belvedere to minutely observe and sense the spectacle of nature, of shade as a retreat against the sharp tropical sun, the resurgence of life, a sudden BURST of green, when the hard pounding monsoon arrives, the waft of breezes filling the air with the fragrance of moist earth, the movement of stars across the very dark night skies. To heighten the drama of the site through what we build, without building a dramatic building!! A peculiar one YES…..
Copper House II by Studio Mumbai situated in Chondi, Maharashtra, India. The Hortus conclusus unites within itself a marvelous assemblage of disparate aspects. It seeks to understand the landscape it denies, explain the world it excludes, bring in the nature it fears and summarise all this in an architectural composition. The Enclosed Garden, Rob Aben, Saskia de Wit. The severe flood of Mumbai and its hinterland in 2005 had marked its high-water mark on a pump-house that was extant to the site. After using it to register the datum for the house, pile foundations were put in and a slab was cast two feet above the high-water line. The central fill came from the excavation for the well, and around a court, the house grew. The language and logic of the building are located in three primary architectural moves. The first is the creation of two distinct blocks, varying in width by a foot, separated by the stone-paved courtyard on the ground, and united by the cupric roof plane at the upper level. The two blocks function as discrete personal spaces on the upper level, one is a singular space of bedroom and bath, the other has an additional study.
At the ground level, an indoor family room becomes an adjunct to the main living space which does not have the containment that the other more private spaces exhibit. This main space functions literally as the deck of the house, overlooking the landscape and the courtyard, creating a simultaneity of vistas, each of a different scale and access. The copper-covered private spaces at the upper level are positioned in mutual tension, with the guarantee of simultaneous intimacy and isolation, so essential to the domestic interior. This spatial strategy also allows for varying levels of communication, visual and otherwise, between the upper and lower spaces of the house. In Kerala, further south from Mumbai along the west coast of the Indian peninsula (as in many other regions), the courtyard was the center of the traditional house.
The central room formed by the courtyard flanked by pillars was called the naalukettu. But the entire structure, comprising the central hall and the four wings around was also commonly referred to as the naalukettu. This reference to the courtyard as the house itself, holds a clue to the development of the design for this house, as it evolved from being an embracing structure to one which opened out. The second definitive move is the layering of light through a series of material gestures, each one tuned to the direction that light takes and the need for changing degrees of privacy. This is articulated with screening devices made of fine netting framed in traditionally crafted wood, fluted glass which diffuses the light and greenery and hints at the absent city, and sliding and folding wooden windows, all of which allow for degrees of seclusion.
The walls are finished in a celadon-colored traditional plaster, smooth like human skin, and crackled like the ancient Chinese glaze, giving the transitory appearance of a fragmented ceramic container, rectilinear and encased with a lid of weathered copper. The continuous copper roof plane forms a secondary datum for the house, becoming a surface of potential occupation and cover. The last is the inclusion of the element of water, whether in the form of the monsoon rain which is relentless in its action on material and mood, or in the form of the well, the stream and the pool beyond the house. The seasonal ‘anxiety’ of the ground is addressed in the manner in which the paving is worked out within the courtyard in a continuous linear fashion and in a loose ring around the house, with undulations registering the flow of rainwater as it reaches for the nearest point of exit. The entrance portal of the building is a non-place. Sitting beneath the first upper copper-wrapped container, it becomes a space of pause. In this house, with its Hortus conclusus acting both as container and sieve, the exploration of the rites of retreat, passage and exclusion are tested again. The final gesture was housing the massive rock which came as a gift from the owner’s mother, leaving it for time to take over, as time inevitably will.
Photos Courtesy of Studio Mumbai
The video shot by Daniele Marucci shows the relationship between architecture and the environment, the nature that surrounds it, the context in which it is located and how it reacts to different weather conditions.
It was filmed in India in July 2012 with a Canon 5D Mark II, and was part of the exhibition of the BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2012, which opened in September at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio (Switzerland).
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
Located in Nandgaon, Maharashtra, India, Palmyra House by Studio Mumbai. The 3,000 ft² (278 m²) house consists of two wooden louvered structures set inside of a functioning coconut plantation.Anchored to stone platforms, the structures overlook a network of wells and aqueducts that weave the site into an inhabitable whole. Living room, study, and master bedroom are contained in the north volume, while the south volume contains the kitchen, dining, and guest bedrooms. Set in the plaza between the buildings, the pool provides a channel for swimming, with expansive views of the sea to the west and views into a dense foliage of palms to the east.
Structural framing for the house was built of ain wood, a local hardwood, and was constructed using traditional interlocking joinery. The extensive louvers were handcrafted from the outer part of the Palmyra trunk (a local palm species). Exteriors are detailed with hand-worked copper flashing and standing seam aluminum roofs; interior surfaces are finished with teakwood and India Patent Stone, a refined pigmented plaster. Locally quarried black basalt was used to construct the stone plinths, aqueduct walls, and pool plaza.
The Riparian House (2015) by Architecture BRIO located in Karjat, India | The Hardt
The Riparian House (2015) by Architecture BRIO located in Karjat, India. Not a long drive away from Mumbai, a mountainous landscape rises up, called the Western Ghats. From this UNESCO world heritage area, numerous rivers and streams find their way down through an undulating landscape eventually feeding into the Bombay bay. The Riparian House is placed just below the top of a hillock at the foothills of the Ghats. The top of a vegetated roof merges with the top of the hillock, hiding the house from the approach on the east side. Inside the house, one can nevertheless enjoy the views to the north of the Irshalgad hill fortress and towards the west the sunset while the river winds its way across the agricultural fields.
Since the most of the site is steeply sloping with a 1:4 gradient, the vegetated roof gives the house an additional usable area. From the top it seems to be an extension of the natural landscape, enhancing the understatedness of the house. The green cover serves to keep the house below cool due to its insulative properties. Along the central axis of the house landscaped steps lead you along a coarse stone wall towards the pool deck. The second set of steps connects to the main level of the house where the axis culminates via the dining room and kitchen into a light-filled courtyard. The experience of being inside the earth is enhanced through the stone boulders which were discovered during the excavation process and retain the earth. The kitchen occupies a central position along with the open to sky courtyard and is flanked on either side by two bedrooms at the two far ends. These spaces are embedded in the earth with windows bringing in ample light from above and the riverside. A master bedroom, bathroom, dining, and living area sit along the front, a more open face of the house. Both the living room in the western corner of the house and the master bedroom in the northern corner enjoy panoramic views of the river.
Galvanized steel mullioned windows break down the scale of the front façade of the house. A rhythmic row of bamboo poles is placed at close intervals in front of the house to create a layer of privacy without obstructing the spectacular view of the river and the mountains beyond. The bamboo enclosure creates a dialogue between the interior and the dramatically changing landscape. The natural landscape changes from a dense brightly green colored jungle-like forest during the monsoon months to a pale brown shrubby wasteland during the dry and hot summer months. The building has to respond to these extreme conditions by allowing enough shade and breeze during the summer and providing a waterproof indoor environment during the stormy monsoons. The screen of columns creates an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow throughout the seasons and times of the day, making the building a ‘sensor’ of light. The walls are built in Indian limestone in a coarse pattern, which makes the house seem to rise out of the ground giving it a solid base. This is contrasted by the lightness of a suspended timber deck verandah which surrounds the house on three sides. The covered verandahs allow for comfortably ventilated and shaded semi-indoor spaces. Internally the timber floor continuous as a border around various patterned natural stone floors. In front of the living room, the deck extends to form a large outdoor deck with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape
House on Pali Hill by Studio Mumbai located in Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India | The Hardt
House on Pali Hill by Studio Mumbai located in Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. An existing house on a narrow site was stripped down, exposing its bare concrete frame to the surrounding trees. Re-programmed and built with an additional floor and terrace, the house sits protected inside layers of glass, wooden screens, planted trellises and curtains providing grades of privacy and enclosure within the urban environment. The entrance gallery leads to a double height living space that opens out onto a timber deck and a public garden. A polished limestone floor gently reflects the landscape while pigmented lime plaster walls softly absorb light. On the first floor, light is drawn through a clerestory volume into the family room, rendering a warm glow to this open, generous space. A corridor leading to the bedrooms culminates in an intimate window seat.
The Lodhi+ Aman New Delhi by Kerry Hill Architects located in New Delhi, India | The Hardt
The Lodhi + Aman New Delhi by Kerry Hill Architects located in New Delhi, India. The luxury hotel won the Commendation for International Architecture at the AIA’s 2010 National Architecture Awards. On the streets of New Delhi’s Lodhi quarter, the Hotel Aman New Delhi explodes onto the pious and solemn outskirts of the city, adjacent to the Nizam Uddin mausoleum. Sprung from the imagination of the celebrated Australian architect, Kerry Hill, this luxury establishment is daringly trendy in style, plunging guests into a delicately contemporary universe. The design furniture and sculpted Rajasthan stone walls make the Aman New Delhi a worthy representative of the prestigious Amanresorts hotel group. The 31 rooms and 8 suites spread over 9 floors contain jaalis (perforated stone with geometric patterns) and open onto the hustle and bustle of the Indian capital. But for perfect moments of relaxation, there’s nothing better than taking advantage of the wide range of massages and treatments available at the hotel’s spa.
The stunning silhouette of Aman New Delhi is located not far from the mausoleum of Nizam Ud Din, an Indian Sufi master. Although the neighborhood is as described in the Blue Guide as a “survivor of the medieval world marked with poetry and fervor”, the hotel is a perfect example of a contemporary and daring contrast, in line with all the other contradictions that one finds in the Indian capital. Owned by the Aman Resorts group, the hotel’s 31 rooms and 8 suites are on 9 levels with a magnificent view of Lodhi quarter and its monuments. The sophisticated, modern and elegant interiors are the work of Australian architect, Kerry Hill who created an intelligent blend of traditional Indian architecture and contemporary furniture. Sculpted walls from Rajasthan, windows and partitions pierced with jaalis or embroidery type stone decorations and dark wood furniture give the rooms a discreet luxury, conforming to the Aman group’s policy of hospitality.
Amanresorts and The Lodhi have created a six-night itinerary to experience the vibrant culture of India, including two night stays at The Lodhi and Amanbagh and Aman-i-Khas, in Rajasthan. It includes daily breakfast for two and one activity per resort per stay. Visit India’s cosmopolitan capital New Delhi. Located in Lutyen’s Delhi, just minutes from Rashtrapati Bhavan, the peaceful Lodhi gardens, Humayun’s Tomb and many other iconic sites, The Lodhi provides a tranquil heart for one of the world’s most colorful and cosmopolitan capital cities. Offering essential respite on a six-acre property, this city-based retreat is an elegant haven of leisure facilities including The Lodhi Spa, Gym, Pilates studio, Tennis and Squash courts and a variety of restaurants. All Lodhi rooms and suites feature private plunge pools. The Lodhi, formerly the Aman New Delhi, is the ideal base from which to experience the city’s wealth of historical, cultural and contemporary attractions.
As a haven of serenity in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle of New Delhi, the Aman spirit, a word derived from the Sanskrit word for peace, prevails throughout the hotel. In addition, it’s hard to resist the traditional Indian treatments offered by the hotel’s spa.
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
The House Of Secret Gardens (2018) by Spasm Design located in Ahmedabad, India | The Hardt
The House Of Secret Gardens (2018) by Spasm Design located in Ahmedabad, India. This is a private home in Ahmedabad, is an expression in Dhrangadhra stone. The stone used in many of the architectural antiquities of Ahmedabad. The stone has a mottled texture and bone coloration, available in blocks; slabs and dust from quarries nearby it became an obvious choice. It ages pretty well too. The cellular structure of this sandstone holds intermittent microscopic air gaps, acting as an insulation panel itself. This led to the idea of cladding the entire body of the house as a monolith. The organization of the plan is like a simple cross. This allows for one room thick arms, hence permitting easy cross ventilation and the possibility of a seamless connection with the outdoors. The stone is used in giant blocks vertically to form a periphery, a border to the gardens to frame the edges, allow breezes, and a sense of containment and scale. This frame allows the home to be immersed in the greens, considered imagery and landscape will form the surrounds of the cross-shaped construct.
From the entry through to the main stair volume at the Centre of the cross, the hallways of the home are so modulated that the sense of sauntering between inside and outside is heightened. Even externally, the body of the house can be surmounted via ascending stairs in solid stone, to discover an elevated garden roof. This home promotes the use of external spaces, all along the edges of the cross layout. Courtyards facilitating the conventional movement of air will be a major part of the passive climate control in the home, stone fins, rough cuts perpendicular to the building face, cause incident shadows hence cooling the face and creating an ever-changing rhythm of shadows and light. The interiors are embellished with rich woodwork boxes that contain wardrobes and large luxurious ensuite bathrooms, sitting within a volume of ceilings and walls all rendered in lime plaster had applied like stucco. Chosen from the client’s collection and commissioned from local artists, the home will abound several bespoke objects and pieces, many of which are designed by SPASM for this project in particular. We searched for a custom fit to the client’s lifestyle, aspirations, and needs. A project in which the architecture is inspired and echoes a contemporary yet sensible and slick way of occupying the site. Intended as seamless extensions of the living spaces the gardens will over the years mature as view boxes which come alive with the moving sun, breezes animating them and rain imbuing the home with the fresh aroma of the dry earth thirst quenched.
A long search for an appropriate emotion for the water body, ended in the commissioning of a life-size sculpture of a pensive monk, in Beslana stone gingerly poised on the water’s surface as if levitating. His long search for the right architect ended with us, ever since a call every single day without fail followed, clearly we became like a drug, a fix, keeping the daily sense of invention, ideas and fervor going. We, love this depth of involvement, his curious nature in unraveling how each aspect of his ask and beyond was arrived at…The aim was to deliver a home which allows its occupants to live a life in the bosom of nature, sensing the seasons, entertaining their family and friends and juicing the joys of a well-played life… with art, sculpture, objects, contributing to the serenity of the home. The architecture we believe is about summoning beauty and distilling moments of tranquil inner happiness, an awareness of just being and celebrating a single breath when everything is perfect.
Vanvaaso (2015) by Design Work Group located in Surat, India. “Vanvaso means to dwell within nature and the design bullseye’s the name. Situated in Vav village of district Surat, Vanvaso is a place of refreshment away from the city, and into the countryside surrounded by lush green patches of woods and farmlands. Vanvaso provides a peaceful environment, unlike that offered by a thriving city like Surat. It is a retreat from the routine hustle, a second home, yet one that makes the liver feel more relaxed and ‘at home’.
The house has an urban touch to its exterior, with contemporary luxuries of the modern day, yet it beautifully amalgamates the traditional spaces within. It comprises of typical Indian features like chowk, wall arts, and murals, courtyards, and connection to nature, an inseparable part of Indian architecture. On-site, a path is developed that divided the dwelling from the farmland. The structure is placed at the south-west corner of the plot, allowing for party lawn and landscaping at the front yard. This gives privacy and calm environment to the house. Mounds and trees along the entrance avenue veils the structure and adds curiosity and element of surprise as one moves ahead on the path.
At the entrance, a chowk welcomes the visitor, with large walls painted in worli art style and landscaped central region that defines the character of the space. The house is designed by dividing the regions based on nature of spaces, giving a gathering space in between for interaction along with public and private zones on either side. This forms Indian massing as that of village structures surrounding a courtyard; thus attaining the crux of the design.
The northern block is single-storied with large openings, connecting to the landscape on both the sides. It comprises of public spaces – living and dining areas with a beautiful internal courtyard landscaped with a central bonsai tree. The large openings are shaded using overhangs and awnings that form the semi-covered ottlas on both sides. The spaces between the blocks are shaded by the southern block, that is higher than its northern counterpart. It allows the flow of cool south-west wind filtered through trees and a pool that leads the public area and activity space. It hosts a semi-open deck with columns within the pool, connecting the spaces while hammocks and relaxing lounge flourish the deck.
A water body extension is added beyond the pool and into the gravels, giving the building and the landscape surrounding it a floating effect. Stone chips surround the water body and give the effect of a dessert, thus the water body seems like an oasis. A meditation deck rests in this peaceful atmosphere. The central courtyard contains an open staircase going to the upper floor of the southern block, where a semi-open space develops the frame of the lush green farm. The front party lawn space is left open with few features like a gazebo, sliding swings along with others. Landscape elements like bamboos, textured cladding, wall colors, lights and sound all add to the ambiance and form of an Indian village space. The house thus turns into a home, with the little details creating a bigger picture, making the whole atmosphere much larger than the sum of its constituents.”