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House by a River


October 07, 2008


The Site

The site of this weekend house is steeply sloping with a 1:4 gradient. To the north of the plot runs a river in the east - west direction. The site slopes down towards the river. The highest part of the site is a flattened plateau. the north west direction has a wonderful view of the river and greenery beyond. The vehicular access to the site is from the east along the river. The road is yet to be built up and a bridge needs to be constructed over a nallah that cuts through the access path.

House by a river


Green Roof



Taking advantage of the flattened plateau at the highest point of the site the house is positioned such that its roof slab level merges with the level of the plateau. One can therefore walk onto the roof from the top of the land. This gives to the house an additional usable area for larger gatherings which would have otherwise not been possible due to the steeply sloping land. The roof is a green roof with a wild grass cover. it looks from top like an extension of the natural landscape. This enhances the understatedness of the house and allows it to be hidden from public view. The green cover also serves to keep the house below cooler due to its insulative properties. This will allow for reduced air conditioning cost.

House by a river


Central Axis



Connecting the terrace above to the boat house down by the river is a wedge shaped staircase along the central axis of the house. This staircase serves not only as a connector but is also a feature. It is enclosed by stone walls on either side and is open to sky. Due to its prominence it serves as a backdrop to display objects and artifacts that would bring in a personal character and quality to the house.
Along the same axis is a small pool and landscaped area. This is also open to sky. The landscaped area consists of a pebbled walkway with large paving stones along it. The pebbles also absorb the overflow from the pool.
A series of smaller steps then lead from the pool deck area and continue along the steeply sloping landscape to the boathouse below. The wedge shape of the main staircase is continued in the line of the steps leading below.

On either side of the central axis are two bedrooms. Adjacent to the pool deck on one side is an open kitchen. The kitchen will have sliding shutters that can be closed to lock up the house when not in use.
Both bedrooms have attached bathrooms with outdoor courts. The courts give the bathrooms a sense of space and add the element of luxury to the house. They have outdoor showers and indoor baths. The master bedroom has a four poster bed and a siting area for watching television. It has views on two sides. One side of it is a line of cabinetry. This serves a dual purpose of separating it from the rest of the house as well as accommodating storage. It extends from the bathroom all the way to the outer wall of the bedroom and shares it on one side with the kitchen. The sliding door of the bedrooms can fully open up and tuck into the thickness of the wall they originate from.
The guest bedroom has a built up platform with steps leading up to it. In the center of the platform is a mattress. At the far end of the room is a wall of built in cabinetry.


The Verandah

The living dining areas of the house are part of a large verandah. This is open to all the elements and part of the where one can experience the outdoors. Timber decking forms the floor of the verandah. To shield it from sunlight bamboo blinds with be suspended along the edge. A portion of the deck is sunken in and forms a lower built in seating. This will have cushions thrown along it when in use. This sunken seating becomes an extension of the steps that lead downwards towards the river.


Bamboo Screens

The elevation of the house facing the river needs to be screened from the view of the farmers houses on the other side of the river. In order to do this without obstructing the views beyond, a rhythmic row of bamboo poles will be placed at close intervals in front of the house. These will be placed strategically in areas that need the privacy the most. They will also serve to support the large cantilever of the roof slab above. The bamboo screen will allow for a wonderful play of light when sunlight shines through it and forms shadows onto the timber decking of the verandah.


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