Change is the essence of life; and so is design. Here, a brilliant design encapsulates the need for fluidity and is not bound by inherent assumptions. This is why Aahan Villa stands out, true to its character yet ready to embrace change.
When Aalekh developers reached out to Open Ideas, a multidisciplinary design studio, they had just acquired a land near Vastrapur Lake and wanted to figure out the construction typology to replace the existing old bungalow. Eventually it was agreed that there would be four row houses at the centre and two twin residences on the corner sites in Aahan Villa.
But, things took an interesting turn. Leading IVF specialist in Ahmedabad, Dr. Jayesh Amin, wanted to purchase one of the twin residences, but wished to convert them into a single living space. The need for a reconfiguration elevated the challenge and excitement in the project.
The doctor couple named their personal abode, Reva, signifying the Narmada River that flows peacefully taking different forms in its course. “The client was clear that he did not want the house to look like two units had been put together. It needed to have a seamless flow to it,” says Monarch Champaneri, co-founder and principal architect of Open Ideas.
True to the brief, there is an expansive quality about the house with a sense of continuity from one room to another. Only the bedrooms have wall enclosures, while the rest of the rooms merge together to form one free space, only separated at times by wooden and metal screen walls.
Reva shows how an open, green and relaxed space can be created right in the centre of the crowded, urban city of Ahmedabad. There is a conscious touch of greenery right from the lawn and the spacious courtyards at the front of the house to the terrace garden. “The couple have stressful jobs as both of them are doctors. So, they wanted to come back home to a place where they could connect with nature,” says Champaneri. Even the patio area with an informal dining space comes with an adjoining green wall.
The Ashan project uses a natural palette and the same theme has been extended to Reva, too. The façade has horizontal stone cladding accompanied by a zigzag patterned concrete. This, along with the subtle wooden finishes and liberal use of steel and glass in the interior accentuate the natural look of the house.
A beautiful Ganesha idol welcomes as you enter the house. The living room has a modern and uncluttered look with two separate seating areas. One is for informal use, while the other is to interact with clients and guests. The beige Italian marble flooring flows through the spaces on the lower level integrating them into one. The colour scheme is minimalistic but bursts of colours are strategically contributed by the wall cladding and art providing a refreshingly divergent appeal.
A DNA-shaped Swarovski crystal chandelier with dazzling white lights hangs majestically from the double heighted ceiling of the dining room.
This, along with other aesthetic elements such as the painting at the foyer, the innovative display of brown wall art and the triad paintings in the bedroom using primary colours, represent a common theme of transformation in human life. They tell the beautiful story of evolution, how one cell multiplies to grow into a life and how change is inevitable.
Three generations of the family stay in Reva with the first floor shared by the grandparents and the twin children of the couple. “Communication was an important goal for the clients. They wanted the design to facilitate an interaction between the senior and junior generations in order to bond, share wisdom and have fun in short,” says Champaneri. On the second floor is the master bedroom with a private lounge and deck area.
Another striking aspect of the house is the carefully designed lighting and ventilation scheme that amplifies the roominess, yet retains a cosy feeling. Given the hot and dry climate of Ahmedabad, it was essential to ensure sufficient lighting in the rooms, without the harsh heat. Sun path diagrams were studied to bring in maximum light into the house. Elements such as wooden overhangs were added to ensure this. In the patio, the semi-open wooden roof creates a light and shadow play allowing optimum levels of light to come in. Long shades and windows bring in the cool southern breeze.
The Aahan Villa wins you over with its simplicity and oneness with nature. It is a place where every element is there for a purpose, blending with the personalities of its residents. That’s why it has turned into just the perfect home for a family to make memories in.
Text By Ramya Srinivasan
Photographs Harsh Pandya from Studio Flamebirds