By Savitha Hira
Here is an archetype of an architectural vocabulary that spins a narrative, weaving within its folds elements of interior and landscape design; such that the end result is a candid blend of compositional excellence...
A heavily contoured site, lush chikoo farms, environmental sensitivity and an elaborate program – a few prerequisites that are strung together harmoniously via optimum natural light, strategic zoning, openness, and local materials and craftsmanship pushing the design envelope with green technology.
A kuccha (untarred) road slices through the site, defining the access to a 3000 sq. ft. 3BHK bungalow in scenic Dahanu – a coastal city in Maharashtra. The entry to this large home is earmarked by a colossal entrance portal (effectively camouflaging its 14 feet long sliding gate) defined by a canopy with its gargoyle detail. The entrance facade formed with a bar-code pattern on a longitudinal composition of reused wood intrigues as it allows an interesting play of light and shade.
As one approaches the house, the pathway floor finish in local stone is demarcated with a raised ledge chiseled as seating during large gatherings. The entire house is elevated in the front end by 4 feet high platform, finished in flamed black granite stone flanked by staggering steps on one side and pockets of green on the other. The raised plinth accommodates a little plunge pool, which is connected to the master bathroom, forming its bathtub... creating the illusion of a seamless pool. The black stone finish further flows into the bedroom and transforms into the bed platform.
A secondary plinth finished in grey concrete runs around the house forming a connecting walkway, starting from the entrance porch to the chikoo wadi. Once inside, the living room is split into two levels: one in grey tiles that continues through the entire house and the other that forms a raised wooden wrapped platform... a space defined for lounging. This is further accentuated by the floating staircase detail that creates ever changing chiaroscuro elements. This staircase takes one to the all-wood clad den chiseled for private and solitary moments away from busy city life.
The house further unfolds into furtive outside–inside spaces (bedrooms, kitchen etc) that connect to the landscape outdoors. The closely packed, open-plan kitchen with a single cooking work top overlooks the pool and sports a running counter at the back that continues out into the living and the exterior, forming a buffet counter in case of huge gatherings or as a breakfast counter for a single unit family!
A seamless flow of design elements wrap the architecture with a distinct aesthetic; doubling up as functional fundamentals, pure in form and function. This farm house, a holiday home, is designed by Mumbai- based architect and interior design firm S. M. Studio and brings to mind examples of modernist architecture, where form clearly follows intended function and bears no unnecessary ornamentation; where open spaces and open plan interiors lend themselves to the ideals of social living and communication.