Architect Sandeep Khosla and his wife Tania conceived of a luxury home for themselves, with the intention of leasing it out to a family of four. Using traditional materials and a contemporary design, The Long House makes the most of a linear plot.
When an architect builds a house for himself, what does it look like? Award-winning architect Sandeep Khosla is known for his striking “contextual” architecture which uses traditional and local materials in a contemporary setting, it was therefore inevitable that a luxury home for his family would have the right mix of old and new, of modern and traditional.
‘The Long House’ is in a gated community complex in Bengaluru and is so called because of the linearity of the site. The house has a long frontage with a bamboo grove, which determined the shape of the house.
“The mature bamboo grove was growing wild almost to a height of 20 ft,” remembers Sandeep. “We wanted to keep the essence of the bamboo grove alive, due to its beauty and because it provided the much needed privacy from neighbours on the north side of the property. We took a lot of time with our landscape consultants to prune the bamboo slowly and in such a way that it would co-exist in harmony with the house as well as the rest of the landscape.”
The house makes an impact right from the start. A sculpted brick-coloured wall draws attention to the entrance.
The first visual as you enter the house from the foyer is of the Temple tree set afloat in the linear blue water body against the backdrop of a red wall.
The water body flanks the dining and living rooms and extends out into the garden. The water body acts as a reflecting pool with a water spout chiselled out of stone.
The house has been intentionally divided into public and private spaces with the ground floor hosting the living, dining, den, study, kitchen and a guest room. The upper floor has three bedrooms and a family room.
Even with the peculiar shape of the house, the space flows with one room leading effortlessly to the other. The living room leads to a den, which leads to the study through sliding doors.
The living spaces flank a lengthy verandah that overlooks the north garden. The verandah uses the linear proportions of the 120 ft frontage very effectively and provides a meaningful dialogue with the north garden. A double-height wall in form-finished ribbed concrete gives an eye-catching backdrop to the staircase.
The house has been designed such that the public spaces on the ground floor open up to the verandah and the private garden, while the bedrooms have views of the fruit trees in the south. That way, every room has an expanse of nature to look out to and an outdoor experience to enjoy. Which can only be a good thing in Bengaluru’s temperate climate.
Khosla Associate’s signature work has always incorporated traditional and local materials in thier projects. The Long house uses a fairly neutral material palette. The soft beige Italian marble flooring in the main area reflects natural light whereas in the den and bedrooms the Italian marble is juxtaposed with wooden flooring
Polished kota stone has been used in the verandahs and the entrance steps and walkway around the water body was developed with local hand-dressed sadharhalli stone.
The project was not without its challenges, though. Certain vertical planes were cast in ribbed textured concrete. Special care had to be taken during construction in the accuracy of the repetitive wedge-shaped timber shuttering to achieve seamless joints once the concrete was poured.
“This was a challenge since the team had to try and achieve a degree of precision to achieve a seamless ribbed texture. During the construction process, I had to reject quite a few trials before the contractors finally got it right,” says Sandeep.
In the long verandah, the same ribbed pattern is reflected as a timber clad ceiling that runs its entire length before folding down vertically in the form of ribbed concrete. The team worked closely with the carpenters to achieve the desired result.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy Shamanth Patil J