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 métier.
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.