By Savitha Hira
Photography: Dinesh Mehta; courtesy Group7Architects
Ar. Nitin Killawala is a seasoned space strategist. He chisels a distinct architectural vocabulary for an expansive holiday home against the picturesque backdrop of the Sahyadri hills…
Inspired by camp sites along scenic mountain slopes and white tents in deserts, white conical roofs on black-basalt stone-clad walls with a deep-red circular chimney-like structure highlights this elaborate retreat for a large family, resting at the foothills of the Prabal mountain range on a six-acre plot, bisected by a village road.
With a large part of the premises dedicated to a temple for the hoi-polloi, the home is functionally demarcated under independent rotunds topped by varying sizes of conical roofs ranging from 3.5 metres to 10.0 metres in diameter. All circular rooms are connected via low-height 2.0 metre-wide ambulatory corridors strategically juxtaposed with light courts, skylights and small ventilation openings.
Almost every room is anointed by natural light in abundance and opens out to the verdant landscape. In keeping with Ar. Killawala’s repertoire, this home too is replete with a strong sense of space that he highlights through high ceilings, varying floor levels, impacting staircases and a play of geometrics that together elucidate a strong architectural language; such strength of vision and tangibility of space planning involuntarily nullifies any add-ons.
Following a clear cut methodology, where he makes sure to create focal points, an imposing Buddha statue flanks the entrance, the central axis of which distinctively connects the temple and the home giving rise to a strong visual element at the entrance itself.
A robust starkness, almost vocal in its characteristic strength fills the built form, transforming a mere building into a living-breathing organism - charming, confident and enthralling. Colour is used to a great advantage – adorning walls, floors and ceilings, augmenting the openness of the layout, the curvilinear axes and the minimal intervention with which the mandatory amenities have been incorporated.
Here is an adept exercise in design restraint and premeditated mapping with due regard to locale, climate and the kind and duration of occupancy.