Ultra-luxe, modern and mysterious, the Khadakwasla House owes a significant part of its expansive feel to a generous site area and the rest to Spasm Design Architects’ unique work approach: of creating homes in harmony with nature and human desires.
Intended as the main residence for their businessman client, the brief given to the SPASM (Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant) team for Khadakwasla House was simple: ‘design a luxurious single-storey residence and its immediate landscape for a family of four.’
The architects chose to restrict the total built up area to 820 sq.m.; a move that gave them plenty of a lush, green, open space to play around with.
The result? A truly dynamic, timeless paradise ambience that they managed to capture, claim and innovate on, for granting a Shangri-La like feel to Khadakwasla House!
However, while James Hilton portrayed the original Shangri-La (in his book, ‘Lost Horizons’) as a fictional, mystical and harmonious valley closed on its western end by the Kunlun Mountains, Khadakwasla House, located in Pune, proves to be its Indian and very real counterpart – and just as fascinating!
Sitting pretty on the leeward side of the Western Ghats and bearing the commonality of seeking the same purpose – that of functioning as a permanently happy land for its residents, the elusive quality of the house is further heightened by the dense forest embracing it.
The generative conception of the house, a budget of 3 crores and the rationale of “stringing the rooms” to reflect the mysterious woods amplifies “the idea of trapping a Shangri-La like court against the infinite, by virtue of placing the different elements of the program,” explains the design team.
The courtyard feature allows residents to experience the natural green boundaries around them in an unhindered manner, the outdoor connect is constant, even from inside the house. Thoughtful segregation of private spaces and service zones, which were visualised as solid-white, plastered cuboids are spread in a rough U-configuration. A timber latticed verandah conceived as a semi-open transitional space connects these two solid enclosed masses. “This organisational pattern frames a high volume glass-box as a living room poised over the surrounding swimming pool,” clarify the architects.
Thus, the inspiration for the structure and setting of Khadakwasla House arises from the design philosophy of the principal architects – that of creating spaces for human occupation and use. Or, as they like to put it: “The spaces we create are always arrived at from the experience of occupying!”
Their words mark their work approach. Therefore, they set about creating a verandah with timber lattice elements, a feature that enabled its backdrop to negotiate the enclosures and the central courtyard, which in turn serve as a transitional space filled with dappled shade, promoting a lifestyle intimately connected with the outdoors.
The living room is a counterpoint in the house. Its tall glass-box structure, designed to throb with the flickering of the fireplace on cold evenings, frames the changing hues of the sky at sunset.
Keeping in mind the essentials of reinventing a timeless personal paradise without losing sight of the happiness horizon, the design team combined ingenuity with imagination and came up with a touch of the spectacular for this beautiful country home encased in steel and RCC. They provided it a Kadappa stone finish to ensure loyalty to vernacular and rustic materials, a cantilevered entrance canopy to guarantee visual connect between the house and the back-lawn and latticed timber pergolas to radiate the regenerative spirit of blissful sunshine from the inside out!
Other chief design highlights of this open-to-nature house are its entrance door (a custom made pivoted composite framework with M.S. framing and cladding of patterned timber slats on both sides) and a gradually ascending stair fabricated out of individual pre-cast concrete treads that allow for a sauntering diagonal to the roof of the house with a view of the nearby reservoir.
However, the aspects best reflecting the soul of this perfect countryside Eden are its pockets of living spaces (the in-between regions). These are partly roofed and screened in wooden lattice, but permit occasional strips of natural light to tiptoe through the framework of the house and enhance the tropical experience of feeling light breezes and variances in temperature while barring the entry of truant raindrops.
Not quite over the rainbow, but with its own pot of golden sunshine captured in a unique glass-box community space, the Khadakwasla House exemplifies all that’s needed to live a happy fulfilled life: luxurious simplicity!