Context and zoning
Situated in a scattered residential setting,
amidst the tropical greenery, abutted by an
extensive waterbody on the west, the site is
occupied mostly by tropical vegetation and a
large pond near to its water edge with several
coconut trees surrounding it.
Since the site is adjoining a waterbody, it was essential
to zone the building according to the CRZ rules. The 50
m setback from the water's edge came all the way to
almost the middle of the site. The building was pushed
back furthermore towards the east to ensure a muchextended landscape while keeping the original
place to make it an integral part of the design.
Ar. Sebastian Jose, our principal architect, recalls, "To design the house serving
the dual purpose without costing the space was much of a challenge. We also
had to ensure maximum unobstructed views to each of the spaces, without
compromising the privacy of the end-user. Other than fulfilling the brief, we
wanted the house to be a collection of experiences."
Concept and design: The East-west porosity
The idea to bring in the landscape into the
building- to perceive it as a vast plain open land
with many coconut trees overlooking the
stunning backwaters, resulted in zoning all the
public spaces, including living, dining, kitchen
and guest bedroom downstairs and the rest in
the floors above them. The structure,
conceived as a pavilion that opens out on both
sides on the ground level with subsequent
levels above serving as a canopy, strongly
expresses the east-west porosity aimed to
achieve. Throughout the ground floor, the
opaque walls give way for larger glazed
openings, enabling an unobstructed view of
the soothing landscape, flooding the space
with light and gentle breeze throughout the
Linearity in design
The project broke the conventional approach adopted while designing
residences. To bring the maximum landscape into the building, to ensure
maximum outdoor views to all the spaces, a linear plan was laid out. The house
was raised 1.5m from the ground level and stretched out in length from North
to South, with a large corridor connecting the spaces, ensuring unobstructed
views, ample light, and ventilation to every part of the house along with added
provision for rainwater harvesting.
The residence is designed as a sequence of multiple experiences. The attempt
to bring in 'the element of surprise' to design was accomplished with
compartmentalizing the spaces. This was possible due to the linear arrangement
of spaces accessed from a common passage. Each of them was recognized as a
compartment and treated differently.
Nature and Landscape
The expansive landscape against the astounding
backdrop already had an inherent character to it. The
design simply gave minute additions to compliment it.
Retaining all the trees in place, further landscaped
with vibrant lemon green grass and stone-paved
walkways, the yard facing the backwaters is designed to double up as a gathering space. Thicker
was proposed along the edges to cover the boundary walls to make it seem like
a part of a broader landscape. The pond right in the middle of the yard is made
slightly larger with cantilevered decks in place.
The site called out for a floating roof
form. The adoption of a curved roof
mimicking the wind flow aerodynamics
resulted in a lighter roof structure that
blended the form rightly into the
Entrance and Roof garden
TThe main gate opens into a paved front
yard with a garden, leading into the car
porch. The roof of the porch is designed
as a terraced garden accessed from the
first-floor lobby. Lined with bushes, and
wines along the edge, the porch
naturally blends into the landscape like
a green wall.
Interiors: Material and colour palette
The 4 bedroomed house extends vertically upwards in 3 floors. The ground floor
occupies the public spaces, the first-floor holds the private spaces like the
bedrooms, and the loft accommodates utility rooms, entertainment room, and
For a family who loves to travel, they had a collection of souvenirs and
collectibles acquired over time—each of them with a unique story to tell. The
intent to showcase them without creating chaos for the interior scheme resulted
in adopting a subtle colour palette. It skilfully balances the vibrant colours
popping out along with the greenery that extends indoors, drawing the viewer's
eyes into the otherwise plain walls and nooks.
Stairway and Lift
Placed within a courtyard, the steel and wood
fabricated staircase accompanied by the lift was
designed as a separate entity. The glazed opening
that extends across the southern wall lights up
space along with the indoor greens accentuating it.
Dining and Kitchen
Treated as separate compartments, the dining and
kitchen spaces are designed without any decorative
additions that would disrupt the scenic view.
Like traditional houses, the design offers two
different kitchens: One for heavy cooking and the
other for light cooking. The first one is laid out in
stainless steel, against the white walls and floors,
which makes it easier to clean, and the latter opens
out into a patio that can be used as an outdoor
breakfast or gathering space.
Bedrooms and balconies
Three out of the four bedrooms are placed on the first floor. Accessed from a
common passage with glazed openings on one side, all of them open into private
balconies. Considering the dual function as a homestay, each bedroom is
designed to function as an independent one. Though laid out in a "white and
wooden" theme, each bedroom is personalized and treated differently. For
instance: Two of the larger bedrooms are hidden away with a living space
separated by a wall. The wooden headboard behind the cot extends to the
ceiling, neatly concealing the wardrobe space behind it, whereas for the others,
you enter directly into bedroom space.
The most striking feature of the daughter's bedroom is the specially designed
'attukattil' or the swinging bed, installed on demand. Suspended down from the
ceiling, the attukattil has a provision to be anchored down when needed.
The bedrooms open out into deep balconies with deck spaces. Pergolas with
winding creepers were given over, forming a canopy above the deck with an
intension to bring in the outdoors indoor. The stunning view, the canopy above,
with walls on either side, provides the viewer with a sense of enclosure.
The house is designed to embrace the surrounding landscape, savouring its
beauty, and to slowly become a part of it. Even though the family decided to
open up their home for total strangers, they chose to personalize every inch of
the house, demanding us to design it with the utmost care to ensure comfort
and privacy. This is precisely what makes the house unique and welcoming, as
it habitually makes people feel at home.