In Vasco, Goa, is a serene home built to house an art-loving family and its treasure of carefully collected pieces. Mumbai-based _Opolis Architects has cleverly added subtle doses of drama in the scheme to accord it a certain added interest as well.
Vasco, short for Vasco da Gama, is a serene spot in the otherwise touristy bustle of Goa. This town conjures up images of the beach (but of course!), of markets full of fresh produce and of fishermen lost in time with their fishing nets and tides.There is no doubt that this home takes generous hints from its surroundings, and has been lovingly built to be a peaceful retreat as well as a veritable treasure trove of art.
The owners of the house are consummate art collectors and followers, so the home naturally had to fulfil the demands of not just their utilitarian needs, but also of their deep-running interest. The design of the house reflects this split in priorities very well, and the team from Mumbai-based _Opolis Architects can easily take a bow.
The entranceway is defined by a cover of bushy green, breeze-happy plant and tree cover. The façade itself is simple and earthy, and mostly imagined across a white-and-brown tone range.
There has been a dedicated effort at maintaining a ‘soft’ look for the house, so hard surfaces and contours will be hard to come by here. The pervious paver cover for the driveway, therefore, is only a practical consideration and not really an aesthetic one.
Another critical aspect of the design is its ‘inside-outside’ perspective, where materials and forms have found continuation from the façade to the interiors, so as to retain a sense of oneness.
The beautiful exposed laterite walls, perfect in any earthy set-up, are not just on the external walls but on some internal walls as well, like in the living room. The whole house is split into two specific blocks – one private, and the other public.
A beautiful open-courtyard approach has made possible this division of spaces, which conveniently affords privacy and sociability. “The bays are separated by courts that are open and not enclosed, lending a spatial transparency to the place. The spaces unfold gradually like layers as there are several courts that connect all the built enclosed spaces. The massing of the main wing is such that it slides horizontally in two directions and spaces are created as a result of this tectonic shift.” state Rahul Gore and Sonal Sancheti, principal architects at _Opolis.
The public section of the home is populated by the brilliant, canopied entranceway; the meditation segment; the living room, the kitchen and the services; and the dining room.
The interior scheme of the house is centred around the idea of free-flowing spaces, so the floor swathe is generous and largely unobtrusive. The seamless concrete flooring is a brilliant effort in this direction – it accords the rooms a sweeping, carefree character.
The cream and brown combination afforded by the polished wood partner enhances the effect of the art on the walls.
Separating the dining space from the living room is a grid of ‘Shivlingas’ set amidst gravel; an elegant frangipani tree hovers over them – a smart installation addition to an art-focused home.
The abode is an 8,000 sq. ft. marvel within an estate. It is flushed with natural light, is non-frilly and largely unassuming in style, albeit with a solid personality.
Being in this home means being in constant touch with the outside; the sense of enclosure here is never claustrophobic. The team from _Opolis Architects has been extremely sensitive to the understated tastes of the residents of the home, but has still managed to build a distinct looking abode. This aspect is the most resolute achievement of this project.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Architect