Designed by Varsha & Deepak Guggari Associates, the Jadhav House in Pune has a distinct vernacular design sensibility. It is a luxurious but simple home, cut-off from the world outside and not even interested in being inspired by it.
“He travelled in order to come home.”
– William Trevor.
The homes of well-travelled people live in different realms. Their language of aesthetics is almost always incorrigibly eclectic, their inspirations net always spread wide. Some of them hold these visual cues so close to the heart that totems of them will be everywhere – as framed photographs, decorative urns and what-have-you.
Then there are these other homes, deeply in love with all past and prospective travels, but extremely nuanced in that expression. The Jadhav House belongs to this category.
This home is sumptuous. Its deep wood-and-stone hue palette is capable of relaxing even the weariest bones. It is a rare piece of architecture and design where the rooms seem to breathe, and breathe easy, not groaning under pointless props and frills.
It is tempting to view this home purely allegorically. But allegories are often products of great pragmatic intellectual labour. To create the ambience of this home, all energies were primarily focussed on simplicity. This simple direction led to the adoption of the traditional Indian style of courtyard-like layout, material-use, and a reliance on natural elemental largesse to animate the home.
The team even wisely eschewed the offer of a big spend on the interiors, instead deciding to focus on gravitas. “A simple approach paid a lot in enlivening a simple plan and circulation pattern; for we believed in creating a culture for the family that will be enjoyed by at least three generations,” it states.
The Vaastu-compliant environs of the 15,000 sq. ft. home encompass an open-to-the-sky courtyard, where a lilies-and-fish filled water body keeps perennial track of the weather movements, and welcomes natural breezes of various temperaments into the interior. “This court binds the house along both longitudinal and transverse axes. A series of spaces look into each other, courtesy the presence of the courtyard,” attests the team.
The carefully-planned window placement is a key factor in the elemental depth of the house. “All fenestrations have three layers: the outer most is louvered to enhance cross ventilation and maintain privacy; the middle one is a glass sliding panel which keeps the air-conditioning intact and yet allows the entry of light and views; and then the sliding curtain panels with stretched fabric which cut-off the heat and light.”
The ample influx of natural light and ventilation is helped along and complemented by the sublime interiors, dominated by Indian stone cladding and leather-finished travertine. The house shell is a mix of RCC and post-tensioned slab work, with a country like tiles-steel-and-wood roof that slopes to accommodate the force of weather changes.
The basement parking zone is topped by a gazebo; the ground-floor garden connects to the dining section. The basement is where a luxurious home-theatre is too, enjoying the company of a courtyard wall that has a cascade running down it. “The house has two entrances. The entry at the NE side is used for driving in cars, while the NW entry is for pedestrians,” the team adds.
The whole project was conceived as a luxury resort amidst the cosiness of a home.
The two-level living room on the ground floor is wedged between the family room and an informal sit-out, and is designed to be a constant beneficiary of the central water structure’s charms. Three bedrooms exist on the first floor, along with a study, a gym, and a semi-open terrace. Up another stairwell is the terrace fit for parties.
Every aspect of the interiors, though simple, is in fact making dexterous efforts at maintaining the overarching Indian traditional look template. Parts of this scheme are customised tower bolts and door handles, and handpicked Indian and Balinese artefacts.
The Jadhav House is an exemplary specimen of home-design that is globally inspired but locally-rooted. “Every effort has been made to ensure that the house remains true to its context and testifies itself to the norms of vernacular architecture, instead of vying for an identity amongst modern buildings.” The team says it the best!
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Hemant Patil