Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cliff House

By Savitha Hira
Photography: Bharath Ramamrutham; courtesy Khosla Associates

What more can you ask for when your holiday home is open to the Kerala sun, 360 degree view, large outdoor pool, several decks and meditation areas; and is contextualized by local artisans and material…

Since I first wrote about Khosla Associates way back in the early 90’s, I have observed an equable astuteness in their work. There comes a time in every creative’s life when he begins to view his work from a philosopher’s point of view. This is when the work begins to elocute from a vantage point and is devoid of the fluff, often associated with an overt representation.

A recent residential design of Khosla Associates located in Chowara, a fishing village, 30 minutes from Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala, South India meets this m├ętier.

Opening its embrace to the warm sea breezes, the home covers an area of 1397 sq.m., perched 200 ft. above an expansive stretch of green along the Arabian Sea coast, at the edge of a cliff. Its most prominent and dramatic feature is its asymmetrical sloping roof set against the fronds of a coconut plantation, where a skewed 45m long sheer concrete wall supporting the single lightweight triangulated canopy roof, lunges out towards the view.

Architects Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand say, “We were in a constant connect with the 180 degree panorama of the sea while designing this house.” The resultant structure is a bold and emotional connect with elements. Only half of the 1,400 sq.m of built area is actually defined by four walls. The rest is kept open and intelligently permeable to the elements.

Being climate sensitive, the home allows for light, air and breeze to flow right through. All bathrooms have tropical open-to sky courts that are integrated visually with the bedrooms and several open courts and water features punctuate and soften the scale of the foyer. In the interest of keeping the view foremost and the ambience pleasant in Kerala’s tropical heat, large openings, ample overhangs and louvered wooden sliding and folding shutters for the doors and windows embody archetypal elements of Kerala architecture.

The home is by and large akin to a well orchestrated symphony, where the spaces, like musical notes, set a pitch with their tempo and dynamics; where raw material application in terms of concrete, rough slate, polished cement and local Kota stone vie with the warmth of wood, interspersed with lush tropical water bodies. A careful designation of public and private spaces in an open-plan, double-height voluminous ambience, time and again reasserts the mainstay of the home – its natural habitat. 


  1. omg.. wish this was a resort! beautiful stuf...can almost feel the place.

    Glad to have found you at Indiblogger. Your newest folower and regular visitor now.

  2. amazing work...loved it!

  3. Stunning! Can one rent it?
    Posted by Alexandra Ray on linkedin Group: Design & Art Resource.

  4. Amazing architectural design.
    Posted by Gordon Hosie on linkedin Group: Freelance Professionals.

  5. An amazing space, so well connected to its environment. Well done!
    Posted by Angela Schlentz on linkedin Group: Design & Art Resource.

  6. Absolutely stunning. I love your purity in vision. I am interested in collaborating with designers such as yourself in the realm of outfitting estates as we do yachts. Custom bed, bath and table linens, china, crystal flatware etcetera. I believe that there is a whole revenue stream not being included in projects such as these. I have done such things from a distance and delivered goods to coordinate with project's completion. It is a financial win for all involved - client, design firm, vendors and myself. And, the design aesthetic flows down to the smallest detail.
    Again, Cliff House is AMAZING - congratulations!
    Lisa Ferry -New Wave Design Group on LinkedIn Group Luxury Architecture

  7. Great Work.

    We are in to Architectural Visualization and Animation field and I always tell my customers that we can deliver you good result only when the design of the project is good.

    I would like to congratulate you for the fantastic work you have converted to reality.

    Udit Divatia on LinkedIn Group: Luxury Architecture

  8. Absolutely brilliant! Everything looks exactly as it should. Commendations on striking a good balance between strict proportions and warmth!
    Nikolaj Toft Hansen on LinkedIn Group: Luxury Architecture

  9. Absolutely, positively gorgeous and stunning! Love the feel. I love India, and have traveled there, but have not yet been to Karala.

  10. great...... architecture.......

  11. I didn't know open-air bathrooms existed. I like the concept.
    Posted by Paul Fiorello on linkedin Group: Interior Architecture + Design.

  12. Very nice. Very well done.
    Posted by suzanna mohd nor on linkein Group: Interior Architecture + Design.

  13. I guess it makes that much more sense in India because of the building reg that requires bathrooms to at least have a window for ventilation...
    Can't say the open-to-sky bathrooms are necessarily a new trend - I stayed in a cheap nondescript hotel on Java 5 years ago that had open-to-sky bathrooms mostly just for practicality's sake, but also doesn't Japan have a history of outhouses with a view? Actually, quite a few places and times spring to mind. Back to nature indeed.
    Posted by Anna Pichugina on linkedin Group: ARCHITECT

  14. awesome work..it looks so pure and peaceful.But I really want to know that is it practical to use so much wood everywhere??

  15. Amazing! - congratulations to the architect(s)!
    Posted by Katherine Leavens on linkedin Group: Interior Architecture + Design.

  16. The luxury of the tropical coastal climate.! the concept is obviously not new.. not even in the the 'modern' sense. several resorts have this feature for years now.. as also individual residences.. even as far up north as Delhi-NCR. of course.. it is a nice feeling always.. to engage with water right under the open sky.. :-)
    Posted by Tapan Chakravarty on linkedin Group: Interior Architecture + Design.

  17. Absolutely stunning house - it is places like this that inspired me to become an Interior Designer.
    I have a client (tiler by trade) who created a bathroom like this in an inner city courtyard of his home.
    Posted by Michelle Broussard on linkedin Group: Interior Architecture + Design.

  18. This is a classic work / building craft.
    The spaces are so refined in line with form of the building, perfectly synchronized.


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