Monsoon Retreat by Abraham John Architects

Set in the picturesque valleys of Khandala, nestled between Mumbai and Pune, this Monsoon Retreat is a spacious villa with a private swimming pool and evergreen gardens.
The design of the villa was formulated on the seemingly antonymous concepts of privacy and openness. The orientation of the villa ensures total privacy, while maximizing existing views, creating a sense of openness and belonging to nature. The tree-lined road leading up to the villa introduces the built mass as a solid core; it is only upon entering the premises that one suddenly experiences the expanse of double height volume and the indoor-outdoor feel.

Fluidity of Spaces:
The living room was conceived as an “outdoor space” with abundant light and natural ventilation.
It opens onto decks and gardens on either side, in keeping with the concept. A continuous wall serves as a textured backdrop to the living room and continues onto the deck, lending it a rustic feel.
The cantilevered wood and steel staircase connecting the two floors is set against imposing double height windows; it is bathed in light, allowing luxuriant indoor plants to thrive. The indoor courtyard pathway continues from the staircase area towards the garden. Showers of light are suspended from the ceiling creating a serene ambience.
The open floor plan makes the Living – Dining – Swimming Pool and Deck areas feel like an expansive lounge.
The Dining Room suspends over the private pool, giving the room an island-like feel; the tree in the dining area adds an element of surprise. The Dining island becomes an exotic “outdoor” space where one can enjoy the breeze, the proximity to the water and to the greenery.

Three bedrooms are situated on the first floor. The master bedroom is separated from the other two bedrooms via a bridge that spans across the double height space of the living room. The Master Bedroom is a complete suite by itself, made up of a large bedroom looking onto a private terrace, a master bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. Wooden rafters span the entire Master Suite ceiling, giving it an earthy, out-of-town feel. The bedroom’s wooden flooring brings in beauty and warmth.
A walk-on skylight is a unique feature between the bedroom and the terrace overlooking the garden.

One with nature:
The villa is designed in response to site conditions. Sloping roofs have been designed to withstand the extreme monsoons rains experienced in the area. This house allows one to experience nature.
The indoor/outdoor boundaries disappear as every room opens up to a private outdoor space (terrace or garden). Outdoor decks and landscaped gardens serve as expansive entertaining areas with artful illumination and mood lighting.

Indoor courtyards, skylights, double height sliding-folding windows add to the outdoor feel. Light and shadow add warmth & texture. The carefully chosen, limited palette of materials ensures consistency in design, minimises maintenance and encourages sustainability.

Spaces created harmonise with their surroundings and encourage sustainability by using “green” materials that accentuate warmth & transparency, whilst ageing beautifully: natural sandstone & engineered wooden flooring, large sliding and openable double–glazed windows, which cut down on solar radiation and air conditioning load, allowing for uninterrupted views and access to landscaped areas; automation & LED lights reduce electrical consumption. Cross ventilation ensures minimum use of the AC.
The Villa showcases Five Bedrooms (optional Media Room) with attached Bathrooms and balconies.

In addition there is a Staff Room, a Kitchen and a Powder Room.
Landscape and lighting design play an essential role in the project: outdoor areas and even indoor courtyards, namely the staircase and dining courtyards abound with greenery. Earth was mounded up, boulders & exotic plants were added to create an interesting entrance. The parking area was paved using green paver blocks which allow grass to grow.

Location: Khandala, India
Project Completion: October, 2013
Area: 8400 sft
Project Architects: Abraham John Architects
Design Team: Abraham John, Alan Abraham, Anca Florescu, Amey Mhatre, Bhavika Chauhan, Niranjan Fulsundar
All Photographs (c) Alan Abraham
True Monsoon Retreat designed in response to site conditions: evergreen courtyards, skylights blur the indoor-outdoor boundaries.


A Café and Resto by Ignitus Architectural Studio

When modern requirements meet with Goth philosophy, it delivers an exquisite blend for the society. This very value has been achieved in this beautiful café. This café cum resto resides in the heart of the Ahmedabad, which also happens to be one of the few posh areas of city.

Nicely done landscape, both dry and green ones guides you to the main door of the café. Once you enter the café through wooden door which is having traditional touch, you enter in the wholly different realm of ambience.

Traditional hangouts conclude a warm fiery one bonfire under the black sky. Black sky, dark surrounding and light of the bonfire engender the preeminent ambience and this very thought inspired us to the design the whole café. We were determined to achieve this ambience in the heart of the city-most impossible place to experience this aura. This concept deciphered our key predicament of finding a concept.

Black walls through floor to ceiling and black ceiling separate you from the city’s hustle and bustle but at the same time give you the feeling of grandness. Black walls along with black ceiling replace the dark sky and surrounding while yellow lights replace the light of bonfire. Furniture is carefully designed keeping the requirements of client in mind and every piece of furniture is made of pinewood except chairs. Chairs are of black polymer but the legs are again made of wood and pinewood adds the value to the ambience with its white tone.

The combination of white furniture with dark walls and dark ceiling turned out to be the masterstroke of the whole commission at the end. Cautiously designed furniture allows the customers to sit and hangout for long hours as they enjoy the surrounding and feel relaxed. One can spend some quality time here regardless the age group.

A small area outside the café has sitting arrangement as well with adequately done landscape. Also this was a unique commission in our practice where the requirements of clients kept changing throughout the design period and execution period. Initially the café was supposed to be designed to attract youth of the society and by the end of the design period they wanted to make it designed for all age group.

Fortunately we could able to fulfill them as now customers of all age group visit the café and spend quality time with their loved ones.

Ignitus Architectural Studio
50/4, L Colony, Nehrunagar Crossroads,
Ahmedabad-380 015
Gujarat, India


Nnested Box House by Rajesh Shivaram

The special sensation is clean and abstract almost surreal, subtle play of levels gives the structure a sense of ease. The finishes and overall appearances of the house tend to be extremely sober and sustained but the principles of its composition, are based on consideration that are closely associated with minimal art, the relationship between elements, the scale, materials and use of light.The house is composed of three columns which rest upon M.S. pillars of 4” diameter and culminate in an overhanging bridge.The result is a dynamic house with multiple levels which resemble, externally a set of nested boxes suspended above the landscape.The use of M.S. poles gives a very floating feeling to the entire residence which is aligned in an axial form covered with glass to create a feeling to combine the external and internal space.The same can be seen in the interior as well as the partition between foyer and living.

The building becomes an integral point of its surroundings, with which it also establishes a dialogue, through its stone toned façade.Regular local stone (CHAPDI) is dressed to dominate the subtleness of the white painted walls which clearly identifies the nested box effect.Usage of stone can be seen in its vibrant form both externally and internally were all spaces overlook into each other.Externally stone cantilevered steps form the main approved to the other segment of the residence.Internally all services space are finished in stone façade to generate a sense of curiosity.

The external main steeps is created beautifully with a unique combination of stone, wood finished tiles and fabrication again resting on M.S. pipes to continue the concept.The overhanging bridge from the master bedroom is another special feature of the project which is suspended by angle M.S. rope finished with flamed stone.The large living room extends itself into an internal court, which culminates in a small water body and overlooks a simple puja space.The court is finished with veneer ribs and bronze mirror cladding to give it a wider view.The sobriety of the interior space, where white, wood and stone predominate further emphasis the unique exterior.The main internal stairs is again finished with a unique combination of metal and wood.

Project name: NESTED BOX HOUSE
Project Completion: 2010
Architect: Mr.Rajesh Shivaram

Office building by ISAP

ISAP is an Architectural Design firm based in Noida , India into delightful built spaces. We conceptualized and built an eco friendly office for ourselves keeping in mind that the energy consumption should be low and a natural ambience should
pervade the building.

Local materials like Orange coarse sand, Hollow brick walls were use for insulation and finishing of the building. No paints have been used in the exterior finishing of the building. The colors are natural character of the local coarse sand. Net result was a drastic reduction in consumable energy by 40%.

Even in the harsh hot climate of Delhi the building retains minimum solar thermal energy during the day time for radiation in the night keeping the building cool.

Studio Name – ISAP
Type -Office
Character – Eco sustainable with Climatic conditions & Environment.
Location – NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Year Complete – 2013
Plot Area – 350 Sq. Mtr.
Built up Area – 12000 sqft
Material Used -Local Coarse Sand (Badarpur) Plaster in Exteriors, Natural Stone

Private Residence by Akalpit architects

We at ‘Akalpit architects’ believe in giving ‘Extra bit’ compared to the demand of the users. This ‘ extra bit’ is the space derived without affecting the requirements. We make sure it is not some simple space but a space with its own identity and which adds character to the structure.

The site is situated at a prime location in Kolhapur city. Though the client wished to have two separate residences for his sons, he wanted them to be connected.

This was quite a task as the site is a narrow linear rectangle with side margins of only of seven and half feet, which was barely sufficient for light & ventilation.

This made us derive to a traditional solution. We introduced a triple height Central Courtyard between the two units. This courtyard is definitely the key element of this design. It acts as the entrance lobby for both units which connects at all 3 levels. The courtyard gives a sense of visual relation between them. It invites ample natural light in the house throughout the day & helps the hot air to escape from the top.

The other features are the Double height family lounge at the first floor, which overlooks into the courtyard and acts like a lobby to the master bedroom.Extra wide & full height windows allow the users to enjoy the view of the recreational playground which exists in front of the site.

There is a Home Theater & a Gymnasium on Level 3, which can be accessed through both the units. A semi-covered terrace with features like pergolas and a Lily pond gives a sense of relaxation. At the end of a stressful day, this is the space where one would want to be.

Type – Private Residence For Mr. Ashok Narasinghani
Character – Eco sustainable with Climatic conditions & Environment.
Location – Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.
Year Complete – 2013
Plot Area – 5000 sqft.
Built up Area – 7000 sqft
Material Used – Natural Stone, Vitrified Tiles, Veneer, Solid Wood, Shera Paneling.

Shiv Temple by Sameep Padora and Associates

The Shiv Temple from the hands of Sameep Padora & Associates, based in Mumbai, merges symbolism and iconography of Hinduizm with the vernacular shikhara temple form. In a joint effort with the local townsfolk and spiritual leaders the authors constructed the temple with locally sourced basalt, a product of cooled down lava. The natural patina of the material creates an impression of ancientness.

Flourishing trees bordering the area along with the sky define a sort of outdoor room, in place of a “mandapa” – a traditional pillared hall. The seating created by elevated and layered terrain is mainly utilized for public gatherings and religious ceremonies. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful nature even from the interior through the wooden frame of the entrance. The culminating ceiling with an open skylight, allows the light to shine down upon the statues within the inner sanctum.


Stacked House Renovation by Architecture paradigm

The project is about exploring this notion of joint family culture in the changing urban scenario. The site is a 400sqm with a steep drop of 2.5 meters from northeast to the southwest. It is flanked by roads on the north and western edges. An existing three bedroom house built by the client in the early eighties negotiated this sloped terrain. The brief was to use this structure and add a three bedroom unit on it for his son’s family.

Design for the stacked house examines these parameters in the context of two families spread over three generations co-existing while retaining their personal identities. The idea was to reflect the additive nature of the program, to look at the house as an open ended amalgamation rather than a finite object. The process involved reworking the existing floors to accommodate new program and look at the emerging logic at lower levels to inform the designing of the new unit. The existing house sits in the middle of the site bound by open space on all sides. This open space served as an effective buffer against the busy corner where one of the edges is defined by a school and a temple. The house establishes a strong relationship with the outdoor spaces (unbuilt spaces) in the context of tight urban conditions. The use of layers helps in establishing varying degrees of transparency and dissolving boundaries between in and outside. Being connected to the neighborhood through this brings in a sense of security while maintaining privacy.

Flexibility is carefully considered to enable different possibilities of usage over time. This is exhibited in the open-ended use of one of the rooms in lower as well as upper level units, integration of indoor and outdoor spaces or the open plan with minimum use of internal masonry partitions especially in the upper unit allows multiple possibilities of usage at a later date.

The existing building posed a challenge as it was load bearing structure. And few of the internal walls had to be removed while taking into consideration the weight of the gardens above. A simple system of Columns and beams has been strategically introduced to support this idea. The inverted beams strengthened the existing slabs while accommodating the weight and depth of the lawn above. The cantilever of 4.5M in the southeastern corner provides the wooden deck at the first level ample shade and also adds to the expression of stacking.

The idea of stacking and labyrinth as expression of private realm is supported with the use of materials and detail. Glass skylights, ferroconcrete and glass bottle panels, conical skylight cum ventilation device, the wooden screens and pergolas explores the medium of light as a tactile material lending character to each of the spaces. Passive strategies like rain water harvesting, solar water heating, terrace gardens along with efficient planning and conscious use of low energy materials and renewable materials like timber renders this project a environmentally sensitive attempt. The material palette apart from locally available material like natural stone, wood glass and steel explores unconventional technologies like oxide flooring tiles, earth plastered walls, ferroconcrete and precast technologies. The expression stems out of a will to create spaces which are intimate, warm and memorable while accommodating the sensibilities of changing life styles.

Architects – Architecture Paradigm Private Limited, Bangalore, India
Project Team – Sandeep J, Manoj Ladhad, Vimal Jain, Aishwarya & Dharma.
Location – Bangalore, India.
Structural Engineer – BL Manjunath & Co, Bangalore.
Project Year – 2010
Photographs – Vimal Jain.


The wealthiest Indian villa

“The villa of the wealthiest Indian” or “The most expensive house in the world” are titles of this building constructed in Bombay, India. A man that had built this house is reportedly the wealthiest Indian, his name is Mukesh Ambani. It is supposedly the most expensive house ever, it cost about one billion dollars. It took seven years to build the 27 storey building designated only for one six-member family. The name of the house was deducted from a name of a mythic island Antilia. The villa houses a swimming pool, yoga room, even a “snow room” where you can freshen up thanks to a pile of artificial snow.

The building has three big balconies with gardens, terraces and a health club that are providing a beautiful view at the Arabic sea that contrasts with a view on surrounding slums. To build a breathtaking building became a way how the modern Indian oligarchs show their fortune and power. The house is well garded of course, nobody uninvited would enter. As for the architecture, this building is an interesting mixture of styles, materials and construction elements and reminds an ondulated ribbon pointing the sky.


Modern Indian Palace

Adhra Pradesh has recently announced the finalization of a unique project with a long name LEED Gold Certified Hotel Park Hotel in Hydrabad, India. It is a unique complex, also called the Modern Indian palace. This new hotel has been designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merill studio (SOM). They combined ultra modern elements with traditional popular Indian architecture. Impressive facade is made from perforated metal that serves as window protection as well. Architects took into account local conditions: daylight, orientation, solar gains and climate.

The aim was to maximize the amount of the natural sunlight and protect the building from reheating. The inner atrium is taken in by a hotel swimming pool. Around the pool guests can visit a number of restaurants, bars, stores in total privacy. All rooms are viewing the lakes and surrounding country. SOM have cooperated with Stevens Institute of Technology`s Product Architecture Lap in Honoken, New Jersey to find the best way to minimize the energy consumption which was cut down by 20%. Also the sewerage plant was constructed in cooperation with scientists. The hotel is first in India to be awarded Leed Gold certificate and marked as the best new project of the year 2010 in India.


The Khadakvasla House

A unique house with a complicated name Khadakvasla was built in a tropical heaven of Western India. Architecture group SPASM Design Archi-tec-ture founded in India in 1995 by Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant that studied at the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai. Their latest project of a family residence has a number of interesting elements. The house takes advantage of the fresh tropical climate. Thanks to an U-shaped layout it opens to the surrounding nature. The center piece is a terrace with a swimming pool providing a maximum of privacy to its owners as it is sheltered from three sides by a wall. From the last side the area is open towards the surrounding wild providing a view of the sunset as if it was a huge TV screen. The house is sided by a pergola extended to the terrace made from an unusual dark wood. The layout of the residence enables to divide the space into to parts: public and private.